Words by Ashley Joy Parker
Since 2007, Primary Flight has served the Miami contemporary art community as an incubator, delivering a distinctive brand of outdoor and gallery-based works harboring the defiant spirit of counter-culture presented to the public through a sophisticated cultural outlet. Five years on, Primary Flight has become a significant, global presence in the sphere of street-based contemporary art out of Miami, bringing the world’s talent to the public. Coinciding with the fifth edition of Primary Flight, Los Angeles-based artist RETNA will contribute a massive tribute mural as part of the collective’s anniversary mantra, ‘Go Big, Or Go Home,’ at Wynwood Lofts (250 NW 23rd Street, Miami). For more information, please visit www.primaryflight.com.
In celebration of those who have moved the Miami visual arts community forward, internationally-recognized artist RETNA – known for his distinctive, calligraphic runes adorning walls, canvases and industrial structures, alike – will create a unique roll-call of names deserving of both fresh visibility and a gesture of gratitude to the family he has built over the past five years.
Placed high on the façade of the Wynwood Lofts building, RETNA’s monumental mural evokes a level of stature and memory. In a culturally rich environment such as Miami, there is little to rival such an homage as one which melds a hybrid language illuminating the names of those who insist on the city’s growth and prosperity through the creative arts. With the approval of this project from the tenants and owners within the Wynwood Lofts Association, President of the Board Carmel Ophir notes that ‘this is a great platform for artists, stakeholders, landlords, curators… a decision made by the community that reflects the burgeoning arts scene in Miami now and for years to come. The healthy relationship [with Primary Flight] comes out of respect for the fantastic work that comes from the ground level.
Primary Flight has been, and remains, instrumental in bringing artists such as Shepard Fairey, RETNA, Andrew Shoultz, Eine and How & Nosm into Miami to create groundbreaking designs and murals. The result is a series of large-scale, unique images dispersed throughout the city; made possible by micro-financed initiatives from the local community, investors and individual donors, Primary Flight has facilitated the visual revitalization of an emerging cultural community thrust into importance by the arrival of Art Basel Miami Beach in 2002. Accomplished street and institutionally-based artists themselves, Primary Flight’s curators BooksIIII Bischof, TYPOE and Chris Oh have since expanded the reach of the collective to include Primary Projects, a multidisciplinary space exploring and promoting multiple forms of aesthetic expression from established and emerging artists.
Utilizing their extensive experience in producing street-level curatorial endeavors in Miami, the creative forces behind Primary Flight (and its related programs) unite the commercial and critical efforts of artists, critics, curators, professionals and patrons into a vital presence; an intelligent, alternative arts initiative with a bold, urban sensibility bringing the museum out of closed quarters into a wholly interactive, wholly democratic arena.