Three million dollars for Mark Bradford’s Fly in the Buttermilk. That’s the reported price the African American artist’s 2002 work sold for at Art Basel Miami this month. Both blue chip and black owned galleries were reporting strong sales during the annual Miami Art Week, which draws huge crowds to the beachside city.
While Art Basel Miami, which takes place in the convention center, is the biggest and grandest of all the shows, there are about three dozen others taking place at the same time, including several that only show the work of black and brown artists, but no matter the size these specialty fairs are all offering more than just art. There is programming to go along from panel discussions to performances.
Black artists are the chroniclers of how we live, capturing our joys and sorrows, our triumphs and tragedies. Whether it’s David Driscoll’s Jazz Singer (Lady of Leisure, Fox), which celebrates the good times or Frank Frazier’s Black Lives Matter series, which captures the bad things that happen to people of color. Whether their work sells for $3,000,000 or $30,000 or $300, the belief and hope is that it will be seen by many and live on forever to tell the story of our lives.