The famous art fair celebrated its 20th anniversary with million-dollar displays and appearances by celebrity collectors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Venus Williams.
- When Art Basel Miami Beach began in 2002, it had many doubters, but now the art fair attracts thousands of visitors and hosts collections worth millions.
- The fair now serves as an important way to link Americans with curators from nearly two dozen other countries.
- This year, the fair broke its own record with 282 exhibitions from 38 different countries.
- By 2018, the fair boasted an attendance of 83,000.
- A $20 million Basquiat and a $7.5 million Jeff Koons were some of this year’s most anticipated items.
Why it’s news
The value of art has been on the rise this year with art auctions earlier this year making record sales. The total value of the pieces displayed at the fair is unknown—but estimates from insurance underwriters place the value somewhere around $2 billion, Forbes reports.
Standouts at this year’s events were a $20 million piece by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ruffians. A private collection featured Picasso’s $11-million portrait of his lover Dora Maar. Work from more modern artists made a splash as well with a $7.5 million resin sculpture called Bowl of Eggs from Jeff Koons.
Though established artists are typically the main attraction at the fair, a few newer artists made appearances. Awol Erizku gained popularity as a photographer, but he is working to rebrand himself as a painter and sculptor. His disco ball-like sculpture of Nefertiti sold for $70,000.
Another newer artist, Amoako Boafa, sold Brides Reflection for an undisclosed amount to a U.S. museum.
One of the most unusual displays was a fully-function ATM—with a twist. While the ATM allowed users to make withdrawals without a fee, it came at a price. When a user withdrew cash, the machine snapped a picture and displayed the user’s face alongside their remaining account balance. The ATM features a leaderboard for others to see.