A nostalgic journey for the Persian royal family at Art Basel '07

Emotional responses were elicited by Michael Stevenson and Andy Warhol


Surviving members of the Persian royal family - including the Shah’s first cousin and the sister of the Empress - have been having a rollercoaster ride through their family history while visiting the fair this year. There were apparently some long faces while viewing English artist Michael Stevenson’s tattered memorial to the Shah of Persia’s ill-fated 1971 desert extravaganza celebrating the 2,500th anniversary of the Iranian monarchy in the ruins of Persepolis, in Art Unlimited (H10). But everyone cheered up on Tony Shafrazi’s stand (M1) where happier memories were found in Andy Warhol’s portraits of the Shah (1977); the Empress (1977) and Farah Ashraf, Princess of Iran (1978). The royal visit must have also conjured up some Persian memories for Shafrazi himself who ran a gallery in Tehran in the late 1970s.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper Art Basel Daily as 'Iran remembered'