Here’s the Most—and Least—You Can Spend on an Artwork at This Year’s Art Basel Miami Beach

From a stuffed dog to a very dark, very expensive painting, here's what we saw at Art Basel Miami Beach on opening day.

Art Base Miami Beach 2022. Courtesy of Art Basel.

Art Basel Miami Beach opened its doors today in South Beach to throngs of eager buyers with VIP access. The Miami Beach Convention Center was packed to the gills as usual with aisle after aisle of blue-chip and cutting edge contemporary art from nearly 300 exhibitors.

Artnet scoured the stands to find the most affordable and the priciest artworks on offer and here’s what we came up with.

For the unbelievably low price of $0.50, fair goers could try their luck—and maybe their hand-eye coordination—at a classic arcade-style “claw machine” filled with stuffed animals and candy. It’s part of a piece titled Fantasy World (2023) by artist Anthony Akimbola in a booth hosted by fair sponsor UBS.

Anthony Akimbola, <i>Fantasy World</i> (2023) at Art Basel Miami Beach 2023. <br>Photo by Eileen Kinsella.

Anthony Akimbola, Fantasy World (2023) at Art Basel Miami Beach 2023.
Photo by Eileen Kinsella.

The attempt to snare a stuffed dog or piece of salt water taffy is effectively free, since a table next to the claw machine held a container full of quarters for players to dip into. This reporter unsuccessfully tried her luck at a battery-operated yapping dog.

Staffers at the booth were discussing how two previous players had scored stuffed animals and how the supply would need to be replenished throughout the day if people kept winning.

According to the wall text, the freestanding claw machine is intended to be played by audiences, “prompting a consideration of the tension between intrinsic and prescribed value—the authenticity or quality of a prize is less significant than the psychological rush of potentially winning one and feeling closer with each attempt.” The artist is interested in “the slippery balance between indulgence and discipline, aptly offering viewers a haptic experience of art rather than a solely visual one.”

Frank Stella, Delta (1958). Image courtesy Yares Art.

Frank Stella, Delta (1958). Image courtesy Yares Art.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we found what we think may be the most expensive—but for sure one of the most expensive—works on offer at the fair. Frank Stella’s extremely rare Delta (1958), the first black painting that the artist ever created, was on offer for $45 million at Yares Art.

The work, which is owned by Stella’s family and has been exhibited all over the world at museums, has been described as the artist’s Les Demoiselle d’Avignon, according to the gallery—i.e. a painting that has not only established him as one of the most innovative and influential artists of his generation, but also fundamentally changed the narrative of postwar art history.

The artist subsequently embarked on a series of paintings that built on the work of Abstract Expressionist artists he admired most. An essay on the work provided by the gallery reads: “The result was a brand new language for non-figurative painting, which in turn affected the development of Color Field Painting, Minimalism, and arguably even Pop, amongst others: all this started with Delta.”

The painting was accompanied by an archival photo of Stella and an essay about the historical significance of the work.

We checked in with Yares about whether the painting had found a buyer in the early hours of the fair. There is plenty of interest, which was also evident by the crowd gathered in the booth to gawk at the Stella and other blue-chip works. But no takers on the pricey black painting…yet.


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