Transporter by Jude Papaloko.

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.

You can follow the popular hashtags #doyoubasel as well as #blackandbasel on instagram and Facebook for more experiences from Art Basel Miami week 2017.

Jazz Singer (Lady of Leisure, Fox), 1974 Oil and collage on canvas 52 × 44 in DC Moore Gallery at Art Basel Miami David Driskell was enjoying his moment in the spotlight at Art Basel this year, posing for photos with fans of his work. The artist, who was born in 1931, is also considered one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject of African American Art and has authored several books on the subject. The Howard University graduate works primarily in collage and mixed media. Jazz Singer (Lady of Leisure, Fox), reflects the era of the Black Arts Movement and the Afrocentric impulses it advanced.

Fly in the Buttermilk, 2002, acrylic on permanent-wave end papers, bleached paper, silver foil and masking tape on canvas 72 1/8 x 84 1/8 in Mnuchin Gallery Art Basel Miami Mnuchin Gallery notched an early sale of Mark Bradford’s 2002 Fly in the Buttermilk for $3 million according to Artsy (artists traditionally do not get profits from secondary market sales). The artists later work has sold for more than $4 million at auction. Bradford, born in 1961, grew up in his mother’s beauty shop and was at one point even an apprentice. Some of the material used in this work includes end papers and foil and other hair products. The title Fly in the Buttermilk refers to being a dark-skinned person among light-skinned people. Bradford is known for his mixed media and often uses found paper from the LA inner city.

Xhosa Woman – Umfazi 2017 and Ixhego II 2017 C-type fuji crystal archival print, dibond mounted Christopher Moller Gallery at PULSE Contemporary Art Fair Tony Gum was born in South Africa in 1996 and is based in Cape Town. She won the 2017 Miami Beach PULSE PRIZE. Her latest work, ‘Ode to She’ was on display as a solo show at PULSE Contemporary Art Fair. It explores what it means to be a Xhosa woman (a Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa), which she is. Gum’s work is rooted in the tradition known as intonjane, where a young girl evolves physically and spiritually through the many stages of her native culture. Gum styles and shoots the photos of herself.

Big Rabbit Little Rabbit 2017 Black charcoal, gouache, soft pastel, oil pastel, oil paint, paint stick, acrylic gold powder on Coventry Vellum Paper 72 × 56 in and There He Went 2017 Black charcoal, gouache, soft pastel, oil pastel, oil paint, paint stick, acrylic gold powder on Canvas 36 × 48 in Rhona Hoffman gallery at Art Basel Miami Nathaniel Mary Quinn, who was born in 1977, has a wait list for his artwork. Both of these sold at Art Basel Miami. Quinn makes large-scale, mixed-media drawings and paintings of collaged and fragmented figures, through which he demonstrates that we are all the sum of our experiences. His own experiences include growing up in a very large family in public housing in Chicago. Quinn uses family photographs, images from articles and advertisements, and mixes these images with painting and drawing. The people in his compositions appear as hybrids both grotesque and beautiful. For Quinn, they are portraits of his fractured family, and images of our multi-faceted selves.

Frank Frazier, who is largely self-taught, is known for his collages influenced by Senegal and West Africa however, he’s always painted and sculpted. But 10 years ago he shifted gears and his work became political. Statements on the struggles black people faced and continue to face. Like the lunch counter sit-in at Woolworth or the police shootings of black men or the white supremacy march in Charlottesville. For these works, Frazier used black shoe polish along with the brush that comes with it, because in the 30s & 40’s black shoe polish is what white men used to paint their faces in blackface and the brush inside the shoe polish was used to inscribe KKK. Frazier is part of a show We Are Who We Are at the Griot Gallery & Academy here in Miami one of the several black art shows.

Postcolonial Booty, 2017, mixed media collage on paper 58×44 in Mariane Ibrahim Gallery at UNTITLED MIAMI Clotilde Jiménez, born in 1990, is a visual artist and an MFA candidate at Slade School of Fine Art. He earned a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Jiménez creates figurative collages on paper made from everyday materials combined with found imagery and drawn or painted elements. The collages are a form of self-portraiture that celebrate the black and brown body while at the same time exploring the boundaries of race, gender, and sexuality in popular culture. Jiménez is black and Hispanic and was born in Hawaii.


Untitled Escape Collage, 2017 ceramic tile mirror black soap spray enamel wax and vinyl in walnut frame 73x96x2 in David Kordansky Gallery at Art Basel Miami
Most of Rashid Johnson’s artwork addresses questions of race, history, and identity. The artist’s career was launched after his 2001 show Freestyle at the Studio Museum in Harlem. To create this work Johnson employed an aesthetic he had not used before. He chooses a color palette for the tiles, which are fired in a kiln in Italy and then sent to his Brooklyn studio. The artist arranges them in a grid. Then he prints images, many depict palms and other natural foliage, which he cuts up and collages onto the tiles. Untitled Escape Collage sold for $215,000 according to Art News.

The Blues, 2017 Set of 25 archival prints 10 x 10 in each print Jack Shainman Gallery at Art Basel Miami. Carrie Mae Weems The Blues sold for $80,000 on the first day of Art Basel Miami according to Artnet. Weems, who works with text, fabric, audio, digital images, and installation video, is best known for her work in the field of photography. In these prints, she showcases Mary J. Blige. Long before female empowerment and the #MeToo movement became a rallying cry, the duo was empowering women through their artistry. Weems has continuously recast the ways in which black women have been ­portrayed through her art and Blige through her music.

One of the Boys, 2017, Inkjet print mounted on dibond with acrylic and aluminum subframe 60 x 40 in  and Heavy Heavy (Hoop Dreams) concrete, ltd los angeles gallery at NADA
Esmaa Mohamoud is an African-Canadian artist born in 1992.  Ideas of race and gender take over her work. Mohamoud’s gallerist says the idea for One of the Boys came from the artist’s childhood memories of when she had a favorite sports jersey but was told to wear a dress. In the series, co-created with artist Qendrim Hoti, a Raptors jersey is worn with a ball gown. There is also her sculptural series developed as part of her master’s degree at Ontario College of Art and Design. Heavy, Heavy (Hoop Dreams), a collection of 60 deflated concrete basketballs, weighing 30 pounds each.

New Wars. New Stories. New Heroes., 2017, archival inkjet print of time-based performance & Gazing, 2017, performance, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery at PULSE Contemporary Art Fair Native New Orleans artists Ti-Rock Moore and Nic Brierre Aziz collaborated to create these works that speak to the current debate over both the Confederate flag and Confederate monuments. It’s a commentary on thought, race and public spaces. Gazing is a performance art piece which interprets Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. Aziz posed atop a base as fair-goers looked on at the PULSE Contemporary Art Fair in Miami. Aziz says for New Wars. New Stories. New Heroes. The pair went to the “General Beauregard Equestrian Statue” in the dead of night to stage the photo and “reclaim” the monument. The statue was removed in May 2017.

Mickey Mouse was a Scorpio, C-print (2016) 52×83 in, Gavin Brown Gallery at Art Basel Miami Arthur Jafa is an artist, director, and award-winning cinematographer. He did Jay-Z’s 444 music video and was the cinematographer on Julie Dash’s film Daughters of the Dust and a seven-minute montage film set to Kanye West’s Ultralight Beam. He’s interested in the portrayal and treatment of blacks and the black American struggle. Here Mickey Mouse, often thought of as racist, is juxtaposed with a Haitian god.

Yinka Shonibare MBE Venus 2017 and David 2016 Unique fibreglass sculpture, hand-painted with Dutch wax Batik pattern and bespoke hand-coloured globe 83 7/10 × 23 3/5 × 23 3/5 in Kehinde Wiley Margaret Woffington Stephen Friedman Gallery at Art Basel Miami Venus 2017 and David 2016 Unique fiberglass sculpture, hand-painted with Dutch wax Batik pattern and bespoke hand-colored globe 83 7/10 × 23 3/5 × 23 3/5 in Margaret Woffington, 2017, oil on panel, Stephen Friedman Gallery at Art Basel Miami As noted earlier, Kehinde Wiley, whose elaborately styled paintings of modern black folk are highly recognizable, was chosen by former President Obama to paint his portrait. The portrait is flanked by two of Yinka Shonibare MBE sculptures. Drawing from his own experience growing up in the U.K. and Nigeria, Shonibare reconfigures iconic imagery into a political and social image related to post-colonialism and globalization. Here we have Venus and David reimagined in batik with the worldly globe as a head.

Colonne Coloniale, 2015, glass and metal, Galleria Continua at Art Basel Miami Pascale Marthine Tayou was born in 1967 and is a Cameron artist. He seeks to redefine post-colonial culture in Africa and raises questions about globalization, migration and nationalism. In Colonne Coloniale we see glass versions of the wooden carved figures of Africans dressed in Western clothes sold to tourists. These colonial figures surround and confront a 15-foot high column of metal pans decorated with European motifs. Showing how there is an emphasis put on what Europeans have done as opposed to Africans.

Portrait of Nick Cave, Nadezhda Polovtseva, 2017, oil on canvas 131 5/16 × 92 3/4 × 4 1/2 in Sean Kelly Gallery at Art Basel Miami In October, artist Kehinde Wiley was chosen by former President Barack Obama to paint his official portrait for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. (Michelle Obama selected artist Amy Sherald.) In this painting, Wiley pays tribute to fellow artist Nick Cave. The portrait stands almost 11 feet tall. Wiley is known for his often large-scale portraits, which showcase modern black men and women posed in heroic poses of traditional old master paintings. Wiley’s paintings challenge notions of identity. He received his MFA from Yale University and was an Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. His work is in the permanent collection of several museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sex Traffic, 2 Blown glass metal, glass beads, thread and wire, 10 1/2×31 1/2×8 inches Goya Contemporary at Art Miami Joyce J. Scott is an African-American artist, sculptor, quilter, performance artist, installation artist, lecturer and educator based in Baltimore. The 69-year-old is a 2016 MacArthur Fellow, the so-called “genius grant” She is known for her provocative sculptures of all sizes, which often force the viewer to think about women and the challenges they face in a world where men are in control. This sculpture is part of her Sex Traffic series she has also done a series titles the Day After Rape. Scott’s show Harriet Tubman and Other Truths is on exhibit now at the Hamilton’s Grounds For Sculpture in New Jersey.