Meet Fabiola Alondra, a fashionable art book publisher on the rise

Fabiola Alondra at her home in New York, December 4, 2016. Alondra is the director of 303 in Print, a publishing imprint from 303 Gallery that commissions and produces limited-edition printed matter. — Picture by Rafael Rios/The New York Times
Fabiola Alondra at her home in New York, December 4, 2016. Alondra is the director of 303 in Print, a publishing imprint from 303 Gallery that commissions and produces limited-edition printed matter. — Picture by Rafael Rios/The New York Times

NEW YORK, Dec 12 — Age: 32. Hometown: Mexico City. Now lives: A duplex apartment in New York’s Brooklyn Heights neighbourhood perched above the promenade, which she shares with her boyfriend, the photographer Balarama Heller.

Claim to fame: Fabiola Alondra is an art-book dealer and gallerist whose resume includes stints cataloguing illustrations for the painter Alex Katz and working closely with the print aficionado John McWhinnie. “I love that you can combine art and books, and over time I couldn’t separate them,” she said.

Big break: After McWhinnie died suddenly in 2012, Richard Prince plucked Alondra to head up Fulton Ryder, his mysterious publishing hub and invitation-only bookshop. “It was exciting because Richard has one of the best book collections in the world,” she said. In March, she became the director of 303 in Print, a publishing imprint from 303 Gallery that commissions and produces limited-edition printed matter from the likes of Karen Kilimnik and Mary Heilmann. “I think that all artists should make publications, whether they are very cheap zines or more elaborate books,” she said.

Latest project: After years of honing her book smarts under art-world heavyweights, Alondra is now writing her own chapter. In April, she opened Fortnight Institute, “a space for contemporary and historical art, ephemera and books” on 60 East Fourth St in Manhattan with Jane Harmon. The gallery’s current exhibition features phallic works by eight artists, including Aurel Schmidt and Jesse Chapman. “We decided to focus on the male member, which still feels like a taboo,” she said. “Is it stripping it from its power or putting it on a pedestal? We wanted to leave it open to interpretation.”

Next thing: This month, Fortnight Institute is publishing its first book, which will explore the current show’s depictions of the male anatomy. “It’s quite the topic, and there is so much there to talk about,” she said.

Black magic: Her extensive home library, which has a built-in rolling ladder, is divided into literature, art, science and a special section on the occult. Favourites include a recent book on the artist Tony Oursler, who has a singular trove of artefacts on the paranormal and other bizarre phenomena, and a first-edition set of tarot cards from 1950s France. “Each card is beautifully hand-lettered in French with mordant captions,” she said. “The final card for Le Monde reads: ‘If you have understood, you do not need my explanations; if you have not understood, you will never understand’.” — The New York Times