Meet: Chris Oh

Chris Oh, Primary Flight

Founded by Books Bischof, his mom’s minivan, a couple of ladders, and a bunch of graffiti artists, Primary Flight was established in 2005 with co-conspirators, Mike Feinberg, Chris Oh, and Typoe.

Rather than serving solely as a monetary vehicle, Primary Flight offers a cultural contribution. Activating the Wynwood area with carefully curated murals, Primary has been instrumental in laying the groundwork for the current Wynwood Arts District. With funds recycled through the collective to cover the cost of programming, Primary was able to bring in globally renowned artists and friends to Miami, breathing life into Wynwood with their murals especially during the time leading up to Art Basel.

Chris Oh, a member of Miami’s premiere graffiti crew, MSG, had control of walls in Wynwood and the Design District, as they had been painting in the area since the 90’s. The initiation of Primary Flight grew out of an introduction between Books and Chris by Dustin Orlando, one of the first gallerists in Wynwood.

“With Primary Flight we never really asked for permission to do what we did,” Chris explains, “we just kinda did it. At the end of the day we were doing it for us, not for the satisfaction for other people, not to be accepted by other people, we just did it because that’s what we love to do.”

With the creation of Primary Projects, Chris, Books, and Typoe sought to further develop their curatorial skills, parlaying their work from the streets to an interior setting.

“We were losing control of the district.” Chris describes, “It wasn’t curated carefully by us anymore. We had no interest anymore in putting artists that have become major contemporary art players and have them paint murals next to some arts and crafts person who thought that it would be cool to paint a mural and never have done it before. Because of the quality control issues, we fell back from painting as many murals, since we already had 250 murals under our belts. We felt the neighborhood was already activated. Our jobs were done here and we wanted to show our growth in another way. We brought it into an interior setting and reflected programming that showed our interests in our tastes and how we’ve grown as art purveyors, art connoisseurs, artists and curators.”

With their gallery currently located in the Design District, past exhibition highlights include Miru Kim’s I Like Pigs And Pigs Like Me, a group show, His Wife and Her Lover, and a salon show featuring 50 different artists this past summer, Salon de Notre Societe, that Chris characterizes as, “a curatorial exercise.”

With an innate desire to help Miami grow, Chris explains, “Now that people have seen what we have helped do in the Wynwood area, there are other property developers and people who have interest in other parts of Miami that need activation. As the art community migrates out of Wynwood and goes to different areas, we’re going to help activate those areas. This is where our interests lie when we’re staying in Miami.”

Stay tuned for Part II: Primary Projects Art Basel 2012