|Focus||Collaborative Art Installation|
|Co-CEOs||Ali Rubinstein, Carl Christensen, Jim Ward|
|Address||1352 Rufina Circle|
Siler and Rufina neighborhood,
Meow Wolf is an American arts and entertainment company that creates large-scale immersive art installations as well as produces streaming content, music videos, and arts and music festivals. Founded in 2008, its flagship attraction, House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) facility, which includes an immersive art installation, learning center, and concert venue. In 2021 their second installation, Omega Mart, opened in Area15 in Las Vegas. A third location in Denver, Convergence Station, opened its doors to the public on September 17, 2021. The organization focuses on sharing abilities and processes among their artists to create elaborate maximalist art installations providing interactive and immersive art experiences.
Meow Wolf was formed in February 2008 as an artist collective by "a group of young residents hoping to supply Santa Fe with an alternative art and music venue." At the first meeting of the collective, everyone present put two scraps of paper with a word on each one in a hat, and the first two scraps drawn became the name of the collective, Meow Wolf.
Early projects 2008–2014
Notable Santa Fe-based installations created by Meow Wolf included:
- "Biome Neuro Norb" (2008), a science fiction-inspired installation,
- "Auto Wolf" (2009), an installation centered around the destruction and reuse of a donated car,
- "The Moon is to Live On" (2010), a multimedia theatrical play,
- "Geodecadent I" and "Geodecadent II" (2010), a series of installations based on geodesic domes, and
- "The Due Return" (2011) an installation consisting of a 70-foot long ship with two levels, filled with rooms and objects suggesting details of implied fictional inhabitants' lives.
In pursuit of teaching collaborative arts practices Meow Wolf formed CHIMERA in 2011. In 2012 CHIMERA worked with approximately one thousand Santa Fe students to create "Omega Mart", a collaborative art installation in the form of a fictitious grocery store stocked with hand-made satirical goods. "Omega Mart" was deliberately placed away from Santa Fe's arts district to attract a more diverse audience. The Omega Mart concept is currently set to be revived for the Las Vegas Meow Wolf location in 2021. In 2013, CHIMERA began working with the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History's classroom mentorship program for gifted students to create an installation named "Project Dreamscape".
Meow Wolf has built notable shows outside of Santa Fe. "Glitteropolis" (2011), at the New Mexico State University Art Gallery, used 50 pounds of glitter for the installation. "Nucleotide" (2013) was a drippy pastel cave-like installation built by Meow Wolf artists in Chicago at the Thomas Robertello Gallery. The majority of "Nucleotide" was conceived and built in Chicago over a 3-month period by 18 members of the collective.
Projects after 2014
In 2016 Meow Wolf opened their first permanent installation, House of Eternal Return, built by a collective of 135 artists in Santa Fe. In January 2018, Meow Wolf announced that it would be opening two new art complexes in Las Vegas and Denver. In 2019, plans for a Phoenix attraction were announced, featuring a 75,000-square-foot (7,000 m2) exhibit with a 400-room hotel. The New York Times Magazine featured Meow Wolf in an article titled "Can an Art Collective Become the Disney of the Experience Economy?," describing the challenges faced by the group's founders in shifting from work as underground artists to running a multimillion-dollar corporation.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Meow Wolf's development plans were delayed in all locations, including layoffs of more than half its staff in Denver. The organization's website stated that a Las Vegas installation will open in early 2021 and the permanent Denver location will open in late 2021. A preliminary collective bargaining group was formed in late 2020 in response to pandemic-related economic challenges and seeking more worker input.
On November 29, 2018, the documentary Meow Wolf: Origin Story was released in movie theaters around the United States in a one-time only showing.
House of Eternal Return
In January 2015, author George R. R. Martin pledged $2.7 million to renovate and lease a vacant bowling alley to create a permanent facility for Meow Wolf. This was supplemented by additional funding, including $50,000 from the city of Santa Fe and $100,000 from a crowd-funding campaign. The installation, called House of Eternal Return opened March 17, 2016. It received a 2017 Thea Award from the Themed Entertainment Association and has been cited as the tenth best music venue in the United States. Multiple musical acts have filmed music videos at House of Eternal Return including The Revivalists and T-Pain.
House of Eternal Return has a storyline based on the fictional Selig family, who disappeared after experimenting with interdimensional travel by tapping into a mysterious force known as "The Anomaly" in an effort to bring back deceased family members. This caused the house to fracture open paths to alternate dimensions. A secret government organization called the Charter was able to contain the Anomaly's effects and passes off the containment warehouse as an art installation.
Meow Wolf's Kaleidoscape
On August 22, 2018, Meow Wolf's Kaleidoscape, an "other-worldly" dark ride based around the concept of entering a piece of contemporary art, was announced for Elitch Gardens Theme Park in Denver, Colorado, replacing Ghost Blasters. The exhibit ran during Elitch Garden's 2019 summer season; the Denver Post described Kaleidoscape as "a hallucinogenic gallery of neon art." The attraction was intended as a prequel to their Denver exhibit, originally expected to open in 2020.
In January 2018, Meow Wolf announced that it would open its second interactive art installation in Las Vegas, Nevada as the anchor attraction at a new retail, art and entertainment complex called AREA15. Opened in 2021, Omega Mart is a 52,000-square-foot (4,800 m2) multisensory grocery store that blends narrative storytelling, technical wizardry, and commerce. Omega Mart aims to guide guests into fantastical areas with themes examining American consumerism and corporate responsibility.
The Omega Mart concept was reused from an earlier temporary installation in Santa Fe.
In January 2018, Meow Wolf announced plans for a permanent installation in downtown Denver, Colorado, located at I-25 and Colfax Ave. This venue opened to the public on September 17, 2021. The 90,000-square-foot (8,400 m2) building is Meow Wolf's largest installation, employing more than 100 local artists specializing in a wide range of media, including architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, video production, cross-reality (AR/VR/MR), music, audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming, and performance. Meow Wolf Denver houses several exhibits, including a large-scale physical fabrication of The Cathedral that the company digitized for The Infinite Playa, a recognized universe in the Burning Man’s multiverse.
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- Sharpe, Tom (23 April 2011). "'Return' to fantasy: Art installation aboard ship promises spectacular interactive environment". Santa Fe New Mexican. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
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- "Meow Wolf Origin Story website". Retrieved 2018-11-29.
- "Meow Wolf Art Complex ft. The House of Eternal Return". Kickstarter. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
- Monroe, Rachel (February 11, 2015). "How George RR Martin is helping stem Santa Fe's youth exodus". The Guardian. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
- Jardrnak, Jackie (January 29, 2015). "Silva Lanes to be transformed to an explorable art space for kids and adults". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
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- "TEA names 23rd annual Thea Awards recipients; Awards Gala to be held in Anaheim in 2017". Themed Entertainment Association.
- Will Simons, Yelp Community Director; Tuesday, July 18 (18 July 2017). "Top 50 Music Venues In The U.S." Yelp.
- "The Revivalists - Change". Retrieved 2019-07-30.
- "Rapper T-Pain filmed new music video at Meow Wolf". KRQE News 13. 2019-03-12. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
- Wenzel, John (2019-04-12). "Meow Wolf ride at Elitch Gardens: Trippy new Kaleidoscape experience is a hallucinogenic gallery of neon art". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
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- Zara, Christopher (2020-08-11). "Here's a preview of Meow Wolf's trippy new Las Vegas grocery store—fingers crossed for 2021". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
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- Weisenburger, Kirsten (2020-08-28). "Oh! The Places You'll Go in the Multiverse!". Burning Man Journal. Retrieved 2020-12-11.