What is bought and sold at Art Basel Miami | Stars & Sparks

What is bought and sold at Art Basel Miami

Dealing in art involves exhibitions of top artists’ works as well as their promotion and advertising. Reason? To successfully sell or to make an interesting purchase. It is a game that collectors like to play supported and encouraged by curators of probably the best exhibition of contemporary art in the world, Art Basel Miami. Just like the Venice Biennale is the occasion to show off your stylist and your garments, Miami is the place to fly to with your art critic and art historian. Why? To invest your money into the things eternal, of course, i.e. art.

This outstanding exhibition used to be called an art fair. It may have been true then, at the time (2002) when it was launched. Now it has grown into a full-fledged art festival of top artists’ paintings and installations.

Art Basel in Basel 2014

Those who buy art in Miami come mostly from South America, e.g. Brazil or Mexico. European or Asian connoisseurs opt for partner exhibitions like Basel, Hong Kong. Miami remains largely a hunting ground for art-hungry millionaires from both Americas.

Traditionally, hot Miami hosts the final art events of the year. There seems to be no end to various exhibitions and presentations. General excitement is measured in long lines of people queuing to make it to previews, while art galleries are so packed with visitors that you cannot see works for the crowds. Almost as it is in the Louvre!

This year Miami shows works from more than 200 galleries of the world. What then attracts most attention at Art Basel Miami? Video installations and performances, which later get most views on YouTube art channels. What works are bought then? Sculpture and provocative graphics by contemporary artists.

For example, Ai Weiwei, who enjoys a cult status, ranks 24th in this year’s list of most influential people. Do we have to say then that his works go like hot cakes long before they make it to exhibitions and that they are sought after by curators and art dealers from all over the world?!


Masterpiece-hunters do not only look for art objects at art fairs like Art Basel Miami. They then sell them – at a price – and show them at exhibition halls in Miami.

As usual, tremendously popular Yayoi Kusama and Anish Kapoor draw huge crowds eager to see their works. Kapoor’s art is powerful and mesmerizing, it evokes subconscious emotion.

Jack Pierson’s Motherfucker was one of the highlights at Art Basel Miami 2015.Another attention-grabbing object was Tom Friedman’s Hamburger which excited both the media and general public. Gastro-art is his distinctive feature. Private collectors rarely buy this kind of art but philanthropists like to give it to public galleries, museums of contemporary art or art centers.