PaperCity Magazine

June 2018- Dallas

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70 A rt pilgrimages to obscure, faraway places have replaced art fairs as the n e w d e s t i n a t i o n f o r e n t h u s i a s t s searching for unique experiences. Whether it's the Great Salt Lake to view Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, or the island of Naoshima, Japan, to see site-specific installations by contemporary artists, pilgrimages to remote locations give a unique context by which to frame art against the natural world. Casa Wabi, on the Oaxacan coastline of Mexico, is a hybrid space that blends stunning architecture and an artist residency under one roof. Its increasing reputation as a must-see destination weighed on my consciousness for more than a year before spurring an impromptu spring-break getaway to Mexico this past March with Phoenix-based artist Matt Magee. A mere 50-minute flight from Mexico City gets you into Puerto Escondido airport, but that's just the beginning of the journey. Faced with an almost unfathomable amount of chicken wire and stucco hotels and condominiums, we opted to blend in and chose a thatch-roofed bungalow on the beaches near the hippy town of Mazunte, Oaxaca — mosquito nets, waterless toilets, no air conditioning, and outdoor showers. Transportation in these beach towns is also challenging. If you're fine with whizzing down a bumpy two-lane highway at 70 miles an hour with no seatbelts and Bonnie Tyler blaring from the speakers, then hang on. But remember, art pilgrimages require this kind of dedication, and the payoffs make off-the-grid adventure unavoidable. It's easy to miss the exit to Casa Wabi, although you'll notice a calmness and order to the landscape as you begin to approach the property. The name Casa Wabi is derived from wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetic philosophy of finding perfection in imperfection, but it's anything but imperfect. In fact, Casa Wabi stands in direct opposition to the funky logic of the other beach towns and their tourist-driven economy. It's difficult to find any imperfection in this beautifully conceived environment. The idea for Casa Wabi was born when minimalist sculptor Bosco Sodi created an artist residency in the outskirts of the Oaxacan town of Puerto Escondido; it A LINE IN THE SAND Folke Egerstrom House's horse pond, 1966-1968 CASA WABI, PUERTO ESCONDIDO, OAXACA, MEXICO B Y G I L B E R T V I C A R I O A 312-meter-long concrete wall provides the framework for Casa Wabi house and art center designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. THIS PAGE: EDMUND SUMNER. OPPOSITE PAGE, TOP TO BOTTOM: EDMUND SUMNER, FCW, ILÁN RABCHINSKEY, PAOLA BRAGADO, EDMUND SUMNER, EDMUND SUMNER.

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