All the art world’s eyes are on Miami this week for the annual suite of art fairs centered around Art Basel Miami Beach (Dec. 1–3). Blogger, influencer, and all-around creative Pari Ehsan (@paridust) let Artnet News tag along, through reunions with art and fashion friends, the artworks that stopped her still in her tracks, and a closer at an iconic South Beach nightclub. Read on to find out more about her whirlwind day at the fair.
I wake up to my first full balmy day in paradise, hop out of bed, throw on my Woman, Life, Freedom shirt (my go-to these days, since we debuted them at Frieze London in October) and run across the street for a matcha latte at a true South Beach gem, Under the Mango Tree. I arrived in Miami last night for what always promises to be a whirlwind Art Basel week. I check my Miami Freedom Team group chat in WhatsApp led by my dear Iranian friend, art advisor and curator Dina Nassir-Khadavi, as we’re meeting before the opening of Art Basel preview day to divide and conquer in distributing Woman, Life, Freedom shirts and totes to amplify the voices of those fighting for their freedom in Iran. Nothing could be more important to me.
After my hit of matcha, I dash back to the hotel, hop in the shower, and get ready for the day ahead, which will involve several outfit changes. I’m very excited as this Art Basel Miami trip I will be giving shine to some brilliant Iranian artists and designers in the fashion and art dialogues I create for my website and Instagram. Their pieces are truly wearable art and the most precious armor for my time here.
Donning a crocheted lace dress, Louboutin tapestry platforms and my latest obsession—a bag from Gombad’s debut collection that was handmade in Iran by female master artisans using an ancient Persian inlay technique called khatam kari—I hop in a car and make my way to Rosetta Bakery.
I arrive at Rosetta, give Dina a big hug and meet some new friends and allies over a chai latte. The Cuban artist Marco Castillo and a founder of the artist collective Los Carpinteros and Dina stay at to catch up a bit while the rest of us head to Art Basel’s opening preview day!
I enter the fair and head first to Meridians, which is the part of the fair dedicated to monumental, large-scale works providing for an immersive viewing experience. The first artist I see is Judy Chicago and I give her a Woman Life Freedom shirt, which she says she will wear proudly. I run across some other sexy allies, artist Miles Greenberg and collector Shawn Leffers.
I receive a text from my bestie, designer Kim Shui, who touched down in Miami this morning and is heading to the fair. I have a lunch in the design district at 12:30 but it’s hard to tear away from the fair—I keep gravitating towards textile works that seem to be ever-present this year. Kim and I take a quick photo in front of an Eric Mack work, true poetry in space, then I have to dash.
I arrive at Michael’s Genuine in the design district for a lunch hosted by Christian Louboutin. There is much glam footwear at this table, I have to say! I am feeling re-energized after a tartare and filet of sea bass; up next on the agenda is a walk through at the Institute of Contemporary Art, a favorite Miami institution of mine. As we walk to the ICA, I peep the store windows and spy a display of the joy-invoking Gaetano Pesce chairs which were created for Bottega Veneta’s Milan runway show, each one unique and endearing.
We commence a stroll through of the ICA’s new exhibitions. First up is a Hervé Télémaque show of emotionally charged paintings, then Nina Chanel Abney’s show “Big Butch Energy,” a stylized explosion of painterly symbolism.
My partner-in-crime arrives, curator and artist Job Piston, who is producing an array of photos for me during Art Basel. He is my travel companion and I feel like we balance each other, very happy to be here creating with him!
As we head back to the hotel from the ICA, I catch wind of an initiative by For Freedoms of billboards titled Eyes on Iran in solidarity with the people of Iran and their plight to topple the Islamic regime and regain their human rights. What a beautiful surprise that will grace the skies above South Beach this week!
I arrive at the hotel and spin into a look dripped in the colors of my heart, a mandarin sunrise ombré Mugler bodysuit and royal plum trousers by Ami. With this look I will shoot my favorite piece at Art Basel, an extraordinary work titled Cottonwood (From the Grove) by Kevin Beasley, on view at Casey Kaplan Gallery’s booth.
Job and I return to Basel just in time to create an art and fashion interplay with Beasley’s layers of ancestral healing. With all that is happening in Iran, this work resonates deeply with me. I am always amazed when art appears as medicine for your soul.
Job and I head back to the hotel to catch a pause, I have a glass of champagne before my last outfit change, a hand-painted metal top by Hushidar Mortezaie, made especially for me!
Tonight’s dinner is off the beaten path, and I have to say I’m looking forward to it! Vogue and Roberto Cavalli are hosting a dinner at the Ancient Spanish Monastery. The hour ride ahead will be well worth it.
I feel like I’ve been transported to a castle of earthly delights—this dinner is exactly what I needed. The spread is dreamy and so is the company: Dimitri Komas, a director at Marian Goodman; style maven Ezra Jay Williams; and Gottmik of RuPaul’s Drag Race are our tablemates. We drape ourselves across the grounds of the monastery and as a parting farewell, each guest is given a dozen peach roses. Swoon!
Well, I can’t believe I’m still standing, but decided to end the night with a Twist xx
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