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The Secret Sandstone Caves of New Mexico
November 22, 2013 9:34 AM   Subscribe

"Paulette’s spectacular, Gaudi-like caves are easily on par with the most well-known land artists — Goldsworthy, Smithson, De Maria — yet only a small circle in Northern New Mexico is aware of his work." Jeffrey Karoff in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

"When I'm done, you'll sit in the middle of a fog of light in an egg, up on a pedestal with doors. Light will come in from above, but it will look like it's coming from below as well," Ra Paullette.
Initially, before I visited, I wondered why Ra didn’t lead tours or charge admission to the caves he’d spent years creating (for example, two to three years per cave), but now I understand how antithetical that idea is to his artistic philosophy. He no more owns the caves than the private or public land they were built on. They belong to New Mexico, and I only hope that future owners of the land will continue to honor that.
Official Cave Digger Trailer and site
Interview with Karoff at the Moveable Fest.
posted by stoneweaver (13 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, these caves are unbelievable. Thanks for posting this.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:11 AM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow. That's cool...
posted by ph00dz at 10:19 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Indeed, they're fantastic.

I think a meetup is in order. But bring your winter wear, it's cold up there between Española and Taos (not the exact location of the caves, but it seems to be close).

For more reading, here's a long interview with Ra (PDF) from the 
book Voices 
of 
Dixon: Oral 
Histories 
from
 the 
Embudo 
Valley.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:22 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Secret Sandstone Caves of New Mexico
posted by stoneweaver


Eponysterical!
posted by filthy light thief at 10:24 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been inside one of them a few times and it is indeed remarkable.
posted by Uncle Grumpy at 10:34 AM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Most excellent. I will be heading to northern New Mexico for my annual December jaunt and will keep this in mind. I was already planning on visiting the mission ruins of central NM as it has been a while for me. I greatly appreciate the post. Even just seeing the words "Santa Fe New Mexican" in a post warms my heart.
posted by buffalo at 11:02 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Minecraft LARP, it's more likely than you think...

Good on this guy, sounds like something I should check out before I check out.
posted by The Power Nap at 12:24 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Even just seeing the words 'Santa Fe New Mexican' in a post warms my heart."

Yep. I have the whole "exile" thing going on, I think.

The area within the triangle formed by Santa Fe, Chama, and Las Vegas is basically where my soul is anchored. When I read stories like this and see those photos, and those gorgeous caves which seem just right for Northern New Mexico, I can feel the tether pulling on me all the way over here in Missouri, it's like a pain in my chest.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:25 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


These are astonishing. I'll definitely have to make the trip the next time I'm visiting my ancestral lands.
posted by Sokka shot first at 3:48 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I drove right by this area when I went up to Taos last winter. Had no idea. I'll have to give it a look the next time. Thanks for the post.
posted by Rashomon at 3:59 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


This one looks like a Giger painting except for the colors...
posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:22 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK! Now I know where I'm headed off to next time I visit the family in Albuquerque!

These are way cool.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:42 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


They are really beautiful. But that throwaway sentence in the article:

He no more owns the caves than the private or public land they were built on.

makes me wonder if he has permits or not for his work on public lands. I have no idea what is allowed and what isn't, particularly as land management varies so much by agency -- BLM lands versus National Parks versus state school reserve sections, say.

But as long as he's mostly staying legal, more power to him. I'd love to see them in person.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:11 PM on November 22, 2013


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