Home is Where the Art is

Article by: Chip Conley|@ChipConley

Fri November 30, 2012 | 00:00 AM


Truth be told, whenever I’ve had to pack up my home and move in the past, there are two sets of items that get unpacked first when I land in the place. Not the cooking utensils or dishware. Not the bed linens or towels. Not the TV or stereo system. The two items that need to breathe in my home are my books and my art. And, if you’ve ever visited my sanctuary, you know I’ve got a lot of both.

So when I was asked to go to Art Basel Miami in 2005, only its fourth year in existence, I leapt at the chance – although I will say I experienced a moment of cognitive dissonance. As much as I enjoy checking out art – and even created an art fair, ArtPadSF, inside my first hotel, The Phoenix – I don’t love hanging out in the art world. While art feels like it can be a unifying force in the world, drinking chardonnay and eating brie with a collection of caddy collectors (I don’t like that word as well….garbage collectors collect, art appreciators enthuse) can be a downer.

But, Art Basel Miami since first launching in 2002, long after the original fair was christened in Switzerland in 1970, has created such an art ecosystem full of diversity that I figured there’s something for everyone at this most prominent four-day spectacle that takes over Miami. While the epicenter is the Miami Beach Convention Center, there are dozens of off-shoot, off-beat, and off-center art fairs strewn throughout this tropical wonderland. And, not all of the art is ungodly expensive. I bought a piece there for $1,000. You can, too.