Art Maven Dejha Carrington
And Her Take on Art Week
Photos | Courtesy
Please describe what you do –
Public relations, as in working with media, creatives and the general public to share their stories, connect with each other, and to support the arts.
What are you looking forward to this year for Art Basel? I’m most excited about the people and the unexpected surprises—the pop-up performances, newly discovered artists, underground parties—that make-up the magic of Basel. There’s almost always a moment where I find myself in the most random of places with long-lost friends and incredible art wondering how this night came to be whilst also counting my lucky stars.
Do you prefer exhibits or the shows?
I like to mix it up, and will often follow specific galleries whose artists I love or want to get to know more about. Basel is the perfect time to learn about art and the marketplace—but you have to be fearless with your questions and curiosity.
Are there any local artists that you follow?
My friends at Primary are back in the Design District with a compelling exhibition of collages and sculpture by Autumn Casey. This is her second solo with the gallery, but it’s more personal than ever, both detailed and surprisingly emotional in many ways.
Typoe, partner at Primary and incredible artist in his own right, debuted his first solo show at Faena Art Center in Buenos Aires earlier this summer. I’m also excited about his new installation in Miami with Faena Bazaar—a modern-day souk curated by Kelly Framel and Zachary Lynd.
And finally, there’s Miami native José Parlà’s exhibition Roots at National YoungArts Foundation. I know I’m stretching the term ‘local’ since José now lives in Brooklyn, but to my mind, his show is very much about the intersectionality and geography akin to Miami, and how he connects his past—both in Cuba and Florida—to the elements that inspire his work.
Do you have a specific event that you can’t miss?
Design Miami/ and NADA are usually two of my favorite fairs, but FADE TO BLACK—the Saturday night unwind with my people—is my jam.
How do you prepare?
I first start with a nutritional cleanse in late-October to help clear my mind, inspire some discipline, and to recommit to a healthier routine in hopes of countering the low-grade stress of Basel that usually peaks around Thanksgiving. Then, with one-week out, I start sleeping in 3-hour shifts, nodding to the ways of our ancestral hunters and gathers (because Miami Art Week can sometimes feel like an exercise in hunting and gathering). And finally, the week of, I try to get out and see and take in as many things as I can, keeping my eyes and vibes open, and going with the flow.
Do you have any Art Basel essentials –
Lip gloss, phone charger, events spreadsheet, ginger shots and business cards.
Can you share an insider tips for the unexperienced?
Try to meet the artist. It’s a rare time to have so much talent in one place, so if you’re liking an exhibition or a specific piece, ask for the backstory—it’ll add new dimension to your understanding of the work, and may influence how you choose to navigate the rest of your week.
Do you have any places you like to stop for a coffee or to catch up on work during the week?
I’m a regular at The Standard—working in reclining position is actually one of my favorite things—but I make requisite stops at Jugo Fresh, Panther Coffee (on the beach) or Vice Bean City (on the mainland), and the ocean.
Also, I love to take meetings in the common spaces at fairs. If you’re going to be grinding, keep it inspired, efficient and relevant.
What do you do after Basel to ‘recover’?
With National YoungArts Week and the annual Backyard Ball gala taking place on the heels of Basel in January, followed by the organization’s regional programs in Miami, Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC, recovery mode doesn’t really happen until July. But, to be fair, I take micro-recoveries every day by being deliberate about the spaces and people that surround me, by traveling year-round, and by cultivating the things that matter most.
Learn more about Dejha Carrington here.