Baselphrenia: Primary Flight Crew Reminisce Over Swoon, Mr. Brainwash, and Russell Simmons
There was a time when the 305's boho rogues were overlooked by the Basel culturati. But now some our city's former art bastards have been embraced by these same folks as wayward sons.
The adoption process began back in 2007 when the lads behind Primary Flight took urban walls as their canvases inviting likeminded badasses to create skull-cracking murals that would endure after the week of ABMB.
BooksIIII Bischof and Chris Oh, two of a trio that also includes Typoe, and who also operate the wildly successful Primary Projects space in the Design District, call the approaching art bacchanal "F'Art Basel," "The Circus" and "Basel Tov".
Since being launched four years ago, Primary Flight has converted the streets of Wynwood and the Design District into the planet's largest outdoor museum with murals by names including Typoe, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Retna, Lady pink, Kenton Parker and an expanding roster of world-class talent boasting 250 others.
The event has become a staple of ABMB in recent years, earning Primary Flight's brain trust widespread kudos from those who once overlooked others like them. And, in their case, they did so without having to sell their souls. For this crew it was a way to celebrate homegrown and visiting talent the rest of the year and beyond.
Here's what Bischof and Oh had to say about Basel and the attendant satellite fair daisy chain.
Cultist: What's the most memorable exhibit or artwork you saw during Art Basel Week the past decade? Do you remember the year?
BooksIIII Bischof: Would have to say the Swoon / Os Gemeos, Deitch Projects exhibit in the Miami Design District in 2005.
Chris Oh: I agree with the Swoon / Os Gemeos show in 2005. Also, Jose Parla in 2006 because it was exciting to see a homie from Miami crossover. The first official year of Primary Flight (2007) was so much fun! All the returning artists always comment on how fun that first year was.
What's your funniest Art Basel memory? What's the weirdest art work you recall seeing during the fair?
B: Kenton Parker hollering at large women dressed up in Super Hero Spandex. Getting a fresh response from the mouths of these super heroines. Then modeling with them before a crowd of 100 in the streets of Wynwood. Gets Hectic in the street during Basel.
O: Funniest moment was when I met Mr. Brainwash and told him he sucked. The look of disappointment on his face was priceless. The weirdest thing I've seen was this taxidermy sculpture of life-size horses having crazy sex. It was shown at Red Dot or Art Miami...
What's your favorite Art Basel celeb sighting?
B: Russell Simmons at the Primary Flight After Party at the Shore Club.
O: Jay-Z at Art Basel.
What's the best Art Basel party you remember?
B: Primary Flight's 'Blue Print for Space' after-party at the Shore Club in 2009 when we linked Russell Simmons.
O: The Art Basel closing party at the Fontainebleau.
Can you name a defining breakthrough moment for a local artist during Art Basel you were impressed by?
B: Santiago Rubino at Spinello Gallery.
O: FriendsWithYou 'Skywalkers' parade in 2006.
What do you think Art Basel's greatest impact has been on Miami and what would you most like to see showcased during the fair this year?
B: It has brought international exposure to a city that is incubating some next-level artists. Would love to see Art Basel utilize more of their designated outdoor spaces and partner with Primary Flight to execute some installation projects with contemporary street artists.
In your opinion what's the most annoying thing about Art Basel Week?
B: The most annoying thing is that people who don't follow Miami arts don't realize that art in Miami is not just 4 days long. Art in Miami is 365 days a year and if you don't know that, you need to find out.
Do you have a project planned for Basel this year? If so what is it?
O: Of course we'll have our street presence, also an incredible group show in our gallery and a few surprises. Maybe some unicorns and flying Siberian tigers. You never know...
B: You never know...
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