Dan Colen, TBT, 2012, Courtesy the artist and Gagosian Gallery
We were saddened to hear that this year's edition of OHWOW's "It Ain't Fair" -- held in Miami during Art Basel for the last five years -- is going to be the last. We've enjoyed their perfect mix of art, music and alternative mayhem that always stayed ahead of the curve. The final go-round runs from December 6th to the 9th in a new location on South Beach at 743 Washington Avenue and the big opening party is on Thursday, December 6, from 6 to 9 p.m. Look for works by new and familiar names including KAWS, Daniel Arsham, Scott Campbell, Harmony Korine, Nate Lowman, Ryan McGinley and many, many more. We tracked down OHWOW co-founder Al Moran and asked him a couple of questions.
Why is this going to be the last edition of It Ain't Fair?
In 2008, when we first started doing It Ain't Fair, we always knew there would be a set number of editions. I didn't want this to become yet another institution for Miami's Art Basel week. It Ain't Fair needs to feel a bit renegade for it to succeed. If you continually program something year after year you lose that edge, eventually. In building this year's edition, we didn't know this would be the final year up until a few weeks ago. When the show came together and we took a step back to really grasp what we had accomplished, we knew internally that there would be no way we were ever going to top this edition of it. So the decision was made to go out with what we consider to be the best It Ain't Fair in our history. Five years felt good. We did what we set out to do with it. Now it's time to move away from it and start working on a new project for December in Miami for next year. It Ain't Fair may still rear its head somewhere else in the world, but for Miami, it's over after next week.
Any favorite moments from the previous years? Worst?
Probably one of my most memorable moments was Cyprien Gaillard's performance on the roof in 2009. Cyprien had a film projected against the building, Koudlam peforming on the roof--about 20 feet in the air--plus over two dozen people with fire extinguishers and flares lighting up the entire rooftop. It reminded me of [Ed] Ruscha's The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire multiplied by ten. It was such a spectacle to see. As far as worst moments, I'd say just in general dealing with the crowds has always been a challenge for us. It seems like every year we staff it to handle the previous year's attendance and the current attendance figures blow last year's away. So we've been continually chasing our tails in making sure everything goes smoothly. Hopefully, we got it right this year.
How is the LA gallery going?
Los Angeles has been great to us. I can't imagine being anywhere else right now. There's a tremendous amount of energy and support for what we're doing out here, and I feel like we came here precisely at the right time. LA definitely feels like home.
We noticed that FriendsWithYou also moved to LA. Do you think Miami is only good for artists and galleries during one week out of the year?
I haven't lived in Miami for two years now, so I can't say that I really have the pulse of that city anymore. I do know that for OHWOW, the city just wasn't able to provide the support necessary for an ambitious program to thrive. As you know, it takes so many variables for a city to become a true art city on a year round basis. You need institutional support, you need engaged collectors, you need ambitious galleries, you need higher educational programs, you need an artistic community, and you need capital. When we decided to move to Los Angeles, we felt that Miami didn't have all of those ingredients; therefore, we would be fighting a losing battle if we kept going for it down there. In our eyes, the only options were London, New York or Los Angeles. We chose LA.
What are your plans for the future?
After Basel, we'll be preparing for a solo exhibition by Michael Genovese that opens January 12th followed by a solo exhibition by Nick van Woert that opens on February 22nd -- both in LA. Aside from that, we have a few book projects that will be released in the coming months.