Art Basel Miami Beach 2023

As 2023 draws to a close, Art Basel Miami Beach emerged as a conclusion to a bustling year of art fairs. With a significant turnout of 79,000 visitors, North America’s largest art fair not only showcased the latest trends and transformations but also drew artists, collectors, creatives, and celebrities to Miami for a vibrant week of art installations and celebrations. From established masters such as Philip Guston to emerging talents, this year’s fair brought an abundant selection of large-scale paintings, leading to several big-ticket sales and setting an optimistic tone for the new year.

Featuring 277 galleries, this year’s booth highlights include Untitled (2023) by the Japanese-born, Berlin-based artist Shota Nakamura shown at C L E A R I N G’s booth. The artwork portrays a figure at the foundation of a vast landscape, an engaging prelude to his extensive exhibition scheduled at the gallery's Los Angeles location in the coming January. Showcasing the talent of Sudanese-Canadian artist Azza El Siddique, Bradley Ertaskiran's booth distinguished itself with a noteworthy solo exhibition. The gallery unveiled "Final Fantasy" (2023), an installation that draws inspiration from ancient Egyptian and Sudanese cultures. This immersive, multisensory work takes on the appearance of a tomb, overseen by two sphinx-like cement sculptures of Dobermans.

Art Basel yielded several seven-digit sales, with notable successes reported across the fair. Philip Guston’s “Painter at Night” (1979) was the most expensive sale, reaching an impressive $20 million. The painting depicts a mysterious human figure turning their back to the viewer as they smoke a cigarette and stick up their fingers in a V shape. Created a year before his death, the painting represents the period in the artist’s life after he had left abstraction. The mysterious human figure is a version of the Ku Klux Klan member, a subject that defined some of Guston’s most influential paintings of the late 20th century. You can read more about Philip Guston and his retrospective at Tate Modern in our article here. Other notable sales include: 

  • David Zwirner: Marlene Dumas’s The Schoolboys (1986–87) for $9 million.
  • Hauser & Wirth: George Condo’s Smiling Aristocrat (2023) for $2.35 million.
  • Almine Rech: Tom Wesselmann’s Upside Down Blue Nude (2001) for $1.25 million–$1.35 million.
  • Thaddaeus Ropac: Robert Rauschenberg’s Copperhead-Bite IX / ROCI CHILE (1985) for $1.7 million.
  • White Cube: Park Seo-Bo’s Ecriture No. 191-75 (1975) for $1.5 million.

The fair also provided a platform for emerging talents, with many galleries featuring works from artists who only recently gained recognition for their perspectives and approaches. Notably, Miami-based Spinello Projects sold out its solo booth of Esaí Alfredo (b. 1997) paintings in the first hour and a half of VIP day.

This year's fair also shows that public museums, once standing aloof from the art market, are becoming increasingly involved in the world of art fairs. Hales Gallery sold Jordan Ann Craig’s (b. 1992) work to one of the prominent US museums and Alicia Adamerovich (b. 1989) was acquired by ICA Miami from Michael Kohn Gallery.

So, what can Art Basel Miami Beach tell us about the state of the art world in 2024? As we bid farewell to a year marked by uncertainty and volatility, the fair sets an optimistic tone for the year to come. The strong performance in the primary market for both emerging and established artists suggests a robust trajectory for the art industry in the coming year.



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