Art is a valuable business. According to Business Insider, art is a $65 billion industry and has a particular niche, since just a few people can afford it. However, many cities invest in it to stimulate the interests of the public about art, call attention for specific themes, and also to create new interactive spaces for tourists and inhabitants.
Unsurprisingly, art installations demand a considerable investment and can cost some millions. The public welcomes most of them, but some of them raised serious discussions about public investment priorities and also questions about why art is so expensive. Here is a list of some of the most costly art installations in the world.
10 Bowfort Towers - $500,000
The Bowfort Towers, in Canada, is signed by the artists Del Geist and Patricia Leighton. The art installation can be admired on the Trans Canada Highway and demanded a $500,000 investment. It looks a small amount if compared to other projects on this list, but people were not happy about it.
The towers raised a discussion about how the money could be used on more urgent things, like improving highways in the country. The public pressure was so intense that the project was abandoned in 2018. The Bowfort Towers were supposed to be on both sides of the highway, however, just half of the project was concluded.
9 Stix - $750,000
Stix is the most expensive art installation in Nashville. Christian Moeller has created a project that consists of 27 colorful wooden poles. The meaning behind it is to celebrate the Native Americans who lived there in the past. The artist is famous for his international art installations and the public can see his work in Singapore and London.
The project has cost $750,000 and raised a discussion since many people saw it as an unnecessary investment. In 2018, there was a car crashed against the Stix structure and one person died in the accident.
8 Maman - $10 Million
It is impossible to ignore this giant spider sculpture in Bilbao, Spain, created by Louise Bourgeois. Some specialists consider Maman the most audacious work of Bourgeois and also one of the most expensive: $10 million. The sculpture is almost 10 meters and can be found at the Guggenheim museum.
The artist intended to create something that shows the controversy of maternity. Bourgeois believes the spider represents the protection of a mother but also has the skills of a predator since it uses its spiderweb both to protect eggs and to catch insects.
7 Cloud City- $11 million
Tomas Saraceno has designed the most expensive art installation in Australia. The Cloud City was evaluated on more than $11 million. Saraceno is a prestigious artist and his passionate about floating projects and spider webs. In 2018, Palais brought the exhibition on air to the Palais de Tokyo.
However, not all of his endeavors are successful. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the Cloud City in Australia was a complete failure and it was abandoned before the conclusion due to its price.
6 Coralarium - Price not disclosed
Jason deCaires Taylor is known all over the globe for his unique underwater sculptures and there is a noble purpose behind his projects. deCaires uses ph-neutral cement, which allows sculptures to become coral reef.
In 2018, his most audacious artwork, Coralarium, was bought by an exclusive resort on the Maldives. Sadly, the president didn't like the message behind it and destroyed it just a few days after the conclusion. It is not possible to calculate the value of the piece, but according to the artist, it was at least $40 thousand just to place the work under the water.
5 Cloud Gate - $23 million
It is impossible to visit Chicago and skip the Cloud Gate, one of the most iconic places in the city. The artwork cost was supposed to be only $9 million, but the final price was $23 million.
The Indian artist Anish Kapoor created the Cloud Gate. He is also one of the most valuable artists of our time and is especially popular among Middle Eastern collectors. His work is famous at auctions and often reaches millions of dollars.
Cloud Gate is by far his most famous work but is not the most expensive.
4 Balloon Flower - $25 million+
If you thought the Cloud Gate was overpriced, you would be shocked to find out that the Balloon Flowers in New York probably cost $25 million. The real amount was not disclosed, but that was the price paid for the blue version back in 2008.
The balloon flower is signed by Jeff Koons, who is known for the astronomical prices of his work. His most famous sculpture, Rabbit, was sold for $91 million and is considered his masterpiece and is a record for a living artist.
3 ArcelorMittal Orbit - $28 million
The ArcelorMittal Orbit is signed by Anish Kapoor, who has also created Cloud Gate in Chicago. It was built in London for the Olympic Games in 2012. It is the tallest sculpture in the city and tourists can explore it and appreciate the view of the city. 60 percent of the tower was made using recycled steel.
The iconic art installation cost $28.7 million and many people agree it was not a wise investment. According to BBC, the tower receives fewer tourists than expected and has an annual debt of nearly $15 million.
2 Stairway to Nowhere - $150 million
In 2016, New York received an art installation that was inspired by the Indian Stepwell. The Stairway to Nowhere has 2,500 steps and it allows people to climb. The British artist Thomas Heatherwick created the stairs that cost nearly $150 million.
He is the type of art people use to love or hate. Heathewick is known for creating remarkable public art installations and people can see his work in Japan, China, and the United Kingdom. He also resigned the traditional red buses in London and had signed some artworks that we have seen during the Olympics in 2012.
1 Roden Crater - $200 million
According to their website, the Roden Crater is “a controlled environment for the experiencing and contemplation of light.” The volcanic crater project is still being built and will be located in the middle of the Arizona desert. The idea is to create the art installation inside of a crater in an extinct volcano and it might cost $200 million.
The Roden Crater is the project of James Turrell and he is still trying to find investors. One of them is Kanye West, who gave $10 million. The donation gave more visibility to work and there are chances that Turrell finds more people interested in investing in his artistic endeavor.