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Al Moran & Aaron Bondaroff - Interview

mercredi 23 mars 2011, par Michael Dupouy

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Les deux co-fondateurs de OHWOW se prêtent au jeu du question/réponse et reviennent sur le dernier show de Scott Campbell et leur décision d’ouvrir une galerie àLos Angeles.


You have a store in the West Village, but you chose Los Angeles over New York as the location for your second gallery after Miami ; why L.A. ?

Al Moran : The more Aaron came out here, he kept saying, “I kinda like L.A.,” and that just caught fire. A lot of the artists we’re working with are New York artists that already had New York representation so it kind of made sense. L.A.’s on everybody’s mind right now, it’s a good time for these artists to come out here. Miami worked because we exported New York to Miami and created the dialogue, and we felt that we could create that same dialogue in L.A.

How did you end up here, on the border of Beverly Hills ?

Aaron Bondaroff : I like Downtown Los Angeles, I like Chinatown, the vibe of it. It just seems not central enough for me. We wanted to kind of be in the middle, where if people from Venice and Santa Monica want to come it’s not too far for them, and same thing for the east siders. Plus, I spent so much time on those dirty streets of New York City, I don’t need to do that. We’ve got a yard here ! I take my shoes off and walk barefoot.

A.M. : When we found this place, it was just immediate. It was more about the space than the actual streets where we’re at. That’s another reason we chose L.A. : you can’t find a spot like this in New York.

So a bookstore and a project space is part of the plan ?

A.B. : Definitely. For L.A. you want to create a destination place. People park their cars, they come look at the show, and they want to feel they can hang out in our our bookstore, get a feel for the space. That’s why the back space is important, just to keep life in it. This spot is so big it could be overwhelming, but I can keep life pumping in whether it’s performance pieces or bands coming in. I can just put a band in the [freight entrance], lift the gate, have them do a couple jams and then go home.

Last year you collaborated with Shamim Momin and Los Angeles Nomadic Division to do an installation on an island in Miami, which many people said was their favorite experience at Art Basel. Do you have your eye on any out-of-the-ordinary locations here ?

A.M. : We might do something in the desert. We’re always looking at interesting venues and interesting locations, and working with artists to see how we can flip these venues into experiences. Honestly, the most boring part of what we do is what’s inside those four walls. We really want to interact with the city, and that’s the mentality we have in general. It’s really about contributing to the history of this city and the timeline.

A.B. : I’m really interested in all these different pockets of L.A. In New York City all the different scenes are kinda forced to deal with each other, which is cool — the melting pot, whatever you want to call it. Out here it’s totally not like that. I want to try to mesh it together. I feel like there’s enough land out here to do stuff eventually, but right now it’s just focusing on building a creative hub.

What’s coming up ?

A.B. : Our next artist is David Benjamin Sherry, a younger artist we work with. From Scott to David the work is so different. Then we have Sam Falls, May 15, and June 11 we have a group show of friends from New York City, the circle of friends that I came up with — Ryan McGinley, Terence Koh, Agathe Snow, the late Dash Snow.

Why was Scott Campbell the right artist for your L.A. debut ?

A.M. : Every artist that we work with is family, but we gave Scott his first show in Miami and it was wildly successful, and then the following year we did a show in New York on Crosby street. He earned the right to open up this space, because of his dedication to the work and everything we’ve done together and everything he’s given back to us.

He set his work on fire at Vice’s Mexico City gallery when he didn’t agree with their business practices. I take it there’s no chance he’ll be repeating that performance ?

A.M. : I hope so !

© Steffie Nelson pour le NY Times.

Photo - Curtis Buchanan

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