Floyd P. Stanley's Space Oddity
| Credit: © Floyd P. Stanley

In November, the New York City auction house Christie’s sold a Francis Bacon painting for $142 million, making it the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.

It’s a sum formidable enough to scare many casual enthusiasts into thinking that collecting art is an activity reserved exclusively for the ultra-rich. But the return of the Affordable Art Fair to NYC’s Metropolitan Pavilion this week, from April 3 to 6, is a welcome reminder that there are thousands of worthy artists producing work at attainable prices (relatively speaking). The fair bills itself as a gateway marketplace for first-time art buyers, gathering 78 galleries from around the world to sell photography, painting, sculpture and prints for between $100 and $10,000. Here’s a preview.

Bradley Wood,

Hawk Lady, 2014, $7,500, at Fitzroy Knox

Like scenes from a soap opera, the figures in Wood’s cinematic tableaux brood, repose and daydream from inside lushly rendered rooms. Dark, slick swaths of oil paint heighten the drama of these interiors, which seem to unfold directly from the characters’ own mysterious interior lives.

Matt Neuman,

Tiger Stripe Ego, 2013, $10,000, at Asterisk Projects

Both an artist and the founder of the roving emerging-art-gallery Asterisk Projects, Neuman combines elements of printmaking, sculpture and collage to invent eye-pleasing geometrical compositions, like the intricately layered woodcut print pictured here.

Floyd P. Stanley,

Space Oddity, 2012, $110, one edition of 250, at ArtStar

“Let's not pretend that we don't enjoy ’80s music,” is photographer Floyd P. Stanley’s to-the-point explanation behind his recent series of photographs that pay tribute to the bygone cassette tape, as well as the not-so-bygone sounds of David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper and Billy Idol.

James Sparshatt,

Mujer de Viñales, 2002, $3,500 one edition of 12, at Capital Culture

The photographer began visiting Cuba in the 1990s and has since returned more than a dozen times to photograph the nation’s people, often in moments of celebration. In this portrait of an old woman puffing away on a Cuban cigar, Sparshatt captures that stereotypical icon in a playful, counterintuitive way.

Laurent Chéhère,

Le Petit Journal, 2013,

$4,900, one edition of seven, at 360 by Shopart

For his “Flying Houses” series, French photographer Chéhère shot the facades of old Parisian buildings, then Photoshopped out the mundane streetscapes, replacing them with whimsical patches of sky. The resulting images of houses soaring through the air “lift” the ordinary into the realm of the fantastic.