A Taste of Art
Casa Malca - the most artistic hotel in Tulum
Reported to be Pablo Escobar's former hideaway, now a cool, luxurious, beachfront boutique hotel filled with intriguing artworks from New York art dealer Lio Malca's personal collection.
Bringing culture to the beach while also offering one of the most breathtaking spots on the Yucatán peninsula, Casa Malca reinvents the wonder of Tulum.
The hotel is on the beach, the Caribbean ocean just 25 yards away. Positioned at the quiet end of Tulum's beachfront road, it's next to the protected Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. It's a 25-minute drive to downtown Tulum, though you're likely to spend more time around the beachfront's little boutiques, bars and restaurants, just a three-minute bike ride or one-minute drive away.
Casa Malca officially downplay the house's infamous past, instead preferring to highlight the hotel as an intimate, private getaway, remarkable now for the artworks from Malca's collection and a unique style that makes the hotel stand out on the Riviera Maya. At the entrance of the main house, there are billowing massive white, sequined curtains hanging on either side of a wooden door at the entrance.
Distressed armchairs and sofas hang from chains, swinging gently.

Just inside the doorway, holding his head in his hands, is a Mickey Mouse-type character, an artwork called Companion by pop artist KAWS.
Check-in takes place in a small room with a table filled with chunky art books. The lobby looks out onto the beach and the Caribbean ocean, while an upstairs room contains old dentist's chairs and a table with four legs. On the right side from the entrance there is a small bar area with black and white printed wallpaper by Keith Haring.
There are 30 private villas around the grounds, each with an industrial-chic look, smart spacious blocks with exposed concrete walls. Each one also contains unique artworks or local crafts and furnishings collected by Malca.

Each villa has a plenty of space. A living room area with ornate salmon-pink furniture and a weathered pink wooden table are positioned at the front to look out, through the one-way glass, onto the trees, sand and the ocean, just 30 meters away. On a raised level inside the room, there's a big bed with. There's also a sturdy wooden cabinet and a big chest of drawers. The bathroom is almost as long as the bedroom, with a central sink, a large mirror and two showers at either end of the suite.
There's plenty more art across the property, including doll sculptures hidden among the bushes on the beachfront, while some of the trees have been planted inside giant, chest-high flower pots.

The main pool has colorful Colombian-style hammocks hanging among the trees nearby, with a second pool below ground, inside a quiet, echoey cavern. But what art you can find the hotel?
The art works
Mark Ryden "Rosie's Tea Party" (the photo on the left)

Blending themes of pop culture with techniques reminiscent of the old masters, Mark Ryden has created a singular style that blurs the traditional boundaries between high and low art. His work first garnered attention in the 1990s when he ushered in a new genre of painting, "Pop Surrealism," dragging a host of followers in his wake. Ryden has trumped the initial surrealist strategies by choosing subject matter loaded with cultural connotation.

In Ryden's world cherubic girls rub elbows with strange and mysterious figures. Ornately carved frames lend the paintings a baroque exuberance that adds gravity to their enigmatic themes.

The original painting has been in Lio Malca's collection in New York since 2005, it has been included in some of the most important exhibitions. Due to security challenges and weather conditions an oversize print was installed to be displayed in Tulum.


Yue Minjun "Contemporary Terracotta Warriors" (the photo on the right)

Chinese artist Yue Minjun subverts the grand aura of art history by both adopting pop aesthetics and delving deeply into the potency of self-image. Known for repeating itself, in painting and in sculpture, through repeated, identical iterations, Minjun's body of work is deeply self-critical and remarks on the prevalence of uniformity in modern society.

The sculpture, which belongs to a larger group of Chinese warriors, presents a contemporary reinterpretation of the historical terracotta warriors found in the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, one of China's most influential emperors. Rather than exhibiting individualism, each of Minjun's warriors is resolutely identical and thus the similarity of China's current day plagues.
Rafael Gomez Barros. The art work untitled (the photo on the right)

Rafael was raised in Bogota, Colombia, where he lives and works. His projects interrogate the political situation in Colombia and reflect on the duality of various themes: the individual and society, desire and reality, identity and anonymity. His most recognized work thus far has been giant ant sculptures created from the casts of two human skulls, bringing sharply to mind the thin veil between life and death.

Gomez Barros had eleven solo exhibitions and has been exhibited in numerous group shows including Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, United Kingdom, United States, Austria, and Cuba. His pieces are included in several prestigious private and public collections, such as the Museo de Arte Moderna, Colombia.
Ravinder Reddy "Head for Diego"

Ravinder Reddy is known for making monumental sculptures. His works are a mixture of different iconographic sources such as pop art like Andy Warhol, and Indian traditions. His art work "Head for Diego" is a celebration of the female form, encapsulated by his eye for detail as well as his respect for the feminine – whether depicted as giant heads or figurative, voluptuous sculptures

The gaze of Reddy's women - whether its Devi, Krishnaveni or Woman Holding Her Own Hair - is arresting. Always looking straight, bold, pliant, sensual and demanding, all at the same time. Reddy says he always wanted to make the viewer feel a little dwarfed by their sheer penetration. Ravinder Reddy's women heads refer to a classical Indian tradition and to modern pop art simultaneously. It is Indian in the modern world.
Jianguo Sui "Legacy Mantle" (the photo on the left)

Sui Jianguo became known around the world by using Maoist iconography as an exorcism. It is seen as a major interpreter of how economic transition has been reflected in art. His works deal with his adaptation to the present and metamorphoses induced by new technologies, without discrediting the persistence of cultural values specific to his national heritage.

Originally known as the Zhongshan suit, the uniform became known in the West as the Mao suit because of Mao who chose to wear it with such regularity. Mao Zedong and the Chinese people share an inseparable bond of sentimentality, as demonstrated in Legacy Mantle. With massive dimensions and immensely heavy, it stands tall like a monument for the Chinese people, representing not only the Communist regime but rather the deep memories of the period before Reform and Opening that have quietly disappeared.

Sunil Gawde "Blind Bulbs" (the photo on the right)

Sunil Gawde is the Mumbai-based artist who became one of four artists chosen to represent India at the 53rd Venice Biennale. His work of art called "Blind Bulbs" marked a departure from his trademark abstract paintings. The bulb seemingly represents the human body; it has an interior and an exterior - both brimming with intense possibilities of illumination. The enlarged bulb, though it connotes light, doesn't illuminate from within; it's not connected to its source. Its interiority gets externalized, on the contrary, through a black substance emitted, that attains the shape of a bat.

The 'blind bulbs' were initially commissioned for Saint-Tropez beach. Being placed outdoors in such a context made the irony of the piece evident, as the function of a bulb is completely unnecessary as the light it emits can in no way compete with the sunlight.
Kenny Scharf "Scary Guy"

Kenny Scharf is a world-renowned artist, born in California in 1958. Kenny is known as the father of Pop Surrealism, a movement that he coined and continues to represent today. His body of work spans across street art, painting, sculpture, and installations. Scharf's most recent collaboration was with Christian Dior, working alongside designer Mr. Kim Jones to design and launch Dior's Spring 2021 collection.

The influence of graffiti, comics, cartoons, advertising, and pop culture in general, is present in all of his works and form both a hallmark of style and a historical context. Kenny's unmistakable aesthetic is marked by his irreverent and fun characters as well as the bright colors typically associated with the spray paint technique.
Subodh Gupta "A Giant Leap of Faith" (the photo on the left)

Subodh Gupta is now one of the most famous artists. He makes most of his time his art using various utensils of everyday life, or by reproducing gigantic sculpture, as evidenced for example by his exhibition "Adda / Rendez-vous" at La Monnaie de Paris in 2018.

For Gupta, who for more than a decade has represented the dynamism of the Indian art scene, it is still, like his Chinese contemporaries Ai Weiwei or Chen Zhen, to mix a Western cultural form (here, for example, the endless Column of Constantin Brancusi) and objects inscribed in traditional ethnic customs (bucket and anodized metal). The meeting of the two universes produces these synthetic forms, hybrids which try the work of the artist, but also our globalized society.

In his work A Giant Leap of Faith, Gupta stacked 13 buckets for the old monumental column. The bucket, symbol of the daily labor of millions of individuals, acquires here a spiritual dimension, like the strange concrete monuments that are the Indian countryside.
The biography of Lio Malca
Since embarking in the New York art world in the early 1990ʼs, Lio Malca has specialized in secondary market works by Contemporary and Modern Masters.

In 1994, operating as Malca Fine Art, Lio started to show part of his young collection of work by Jean-Michel Basquiat with the exhibition called ʻTwo Centsʼ; becoming a key player in establishing his early market. ʻTwo Centsʼ was a traveling show viewed in many different colleges through out the United States from 1994 until 1997, and it included works by Basquiat and selected poems by Kevin Young.

In 1997, simultaneously to the Keith Haring retrospective at the Whitney Museum in New York, Lio produced the show ʻIn Your Faceʼ. This show took place in a townhouse across from the museum, including works of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf.
Lio inaugurated, with these 3 artists, what would become his specialty for the next decadeand beyond. The success of the show allowed it to travel to Japan to be exhibited at the Kirin Plaza, Osaka. He has since become a key lender and advisor to Basquiat and Haring exhibitions in the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, South Africa, and elsewhere.

As he contributed to the markets of Basquiat, Haring, and Scharf, Lio Malca continued to invest in emerging markets throughout the 1990ʼs, working closely with established art dealers and galleries, and supporting artists directly. Lio recognized the talent of some of today's worldwide-recognized artists at a very early stage of their careers, Vik Muniz among them.
In the last decade, Lio has created an eclectic art collection that comprises a wide range of artists: from the 80ʼs until todayʼs most current, cutting edge and progressive artists to be found – Brody Condon, Evan Penny, Hung Chi Peng, Mark Ryden, selected artists from the Royal Art Lodge Group and others.

In 2006, Lio moved his business from Soho to the heart of the Chelsea art district, and opened a 3,000 square-foot private gallery under the name Lio Malca. The new gallery showcases the work of a carefully selected roster of Modern and Contemporary Masters, among we can name Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, George Condo, Kenny Scharf, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Yayoi Kusama, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and, Nobuyoshi Araki.

As a whole, Lio Malcaʼs program, as well as his collection, is socially progressive and visually commanding, with an international scope. Finally, in June of 2015 opened La Nave Salinas an exhibition space in Ibiza showcases museum quality works from his personal collection.

What do you think about Casa Malca?

Anastasiya
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