Among the verdant vineyards of Provence, art is grown...at Château La Coste. You've probably read about it as it has become an in-vogue spot in the region and articles are popping up left and right singing its praises. It isn't just a blast of air, this spot is divine. It is the heartfelt project of the prosperous Irish art collector Patrick McKillan (who made his fortune in hotels). The concept is brilliant: cultivate great wine in one of the best wine-growing regions in the world and marry that with great art...and great food.
Among other iconic artists, Louise Bourgeois' work graces the entrance of the domain. Here is her "Crouching Spider." Her spiders are an ode to her mother - as she saw spiders as protectors and not menacing.
Frank Gehry's "Pavillon de Musique" is a masterpiece, especially when sitting and sipping in jazz with a summer Provençal sunset...a whole program of music and events is on at the domain during the summer months.
A new installation by Prune Nourry is "Mater Earth," a moving piece, where a pregnant female form lies in peaceful rest. Her curves are sensational and it is as if her body is half submerged, half rising up out of the earth.
Tom Shannon's "Drop" is interactive in that it moves both horizontally and vertically as one gently pushes the reflective piece.
Down an enchanted path (one of the most compelling aspects of Château La Coste is that its art is so intertwined in the beautiful nature of the domain) one comes to Paul Matisse's "Meditation Bell." By pulling the cord gently, one interacts with the piece and a meditative chime rings out.
In Tadao Ando's Pavillon "Four Cubes to Contemplate our Environment" the artist uses mixed media to ask us to think about the future of our planet and ourselves.
"Chapelle" was constructed on an ancient ruin of a chapel dating back to the 16th century. It is a place of meditation, reflection and peace.
One also finds "La Grand Croix Rouge" by Jean-Michel Othoniel, which is integrated in Tadao Ando's conception of the chapel. The intense red of the piece sits in contrast to the sobriety of Ando's work.
A remarkable piece by Andy Goldsworthy invites observers to enter a dark room by a staircase leading downward. It takes a moment for one's eyes to adjust before the tangled beauty of his work becomes apparent. The room is a nest of 1200 interlaced oak logs and branches without any extra support to fix the piece. "Oak Room" is remarkable.
The art is utterly impressive at Château La Coste...but so is the food and wine. There is a good deal to choose from. Francis Mallmann, Argentinian wonder, has his open fire kitchen here and Vanina is a lovely breath of fresh Italian fare. La Terrasse is more low-key...after a long walk to see the art, sit here for charcuterie, cheese and glass of wine from the domain.
Bring good walking shoes and count 2 hours for the art walk. Château La Coste is open year round.