Holy cats, Meow Wolf! Thank you, thank you, thank you for a ridiculously fun immersive art experience! Anyone who knows me knows I love a good artsy activity. And the recent trend of immersive art exhibits has me all kinds of excited. But Meow Wolf’s Santa Fe exhibit, “House Of Eternal Return” is basically the OG of immersive art exhibits. So, checking this bad boy out was an absolute must on my recent El Paso-New Mexico road trip.
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Introducing Meow Wolf’s “House Of Eternal Return” …Why?
One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to anyone who wants to travel deeper and get off-the-beaten-path is to explore the local arts scene. And, well, Santa Fe is beyond well-known for its love of the arts. So, while it was an absolute necessity that I visit the [more traditional] Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, it was also a necessity that I visit Meow Wolf’s [more contemporary] “House of Eternal Return.”
Immersive art is the latest and greatest craze in the art world. And, it usually has the added benefit of being an Instagram dream. In this way, contemporary art has broadened its exposure to the general public and really woo’ed them.
What is immersive art, you ask? In short, it’s art that’s all-encompassing. It’s art that surrounds you environmentally, that you can touch and interact with. It’s art that creates a different experience and interpretation for each individual. And, the art collective Meow Wolf excels at it.
What Is “House Of Eternal Return” By Meow Wolf?
If you can believe it, Meow Wolf Santa Fe’s “House of Eternal Return” was actually funded by George R.R. Martin. (Yep, the “Games of Thrones” George R.R. Martin. That guy.) He bought an old bowling alley for Meow Wolf to bring their artistic vision to life. And what a vision it is!
When you enter the space, you’ll find a seemingly ordinary two-story Victorian home. But as you explore, you’re introduced to the Selig family, who’ve disappeared after discovering a break in the time-space continuum. Keep exploring, and you’ll find that everything holds a clue to their disappearance, and every nook and cranny is actually… something else.
Every door, every wall, every cabinet is a portal to some other dimension. And all these spaces create a never-ending network of tunnels and experiences, one after another after another. I spent almost two hours in the exhibit and I’m certain, despite my best efforts, that I didn’t find all the different spaces. In fact, I actually had a tough time finding my way out of the exhibit because it’s such an incredible maze. …The “House of Eternal Return.”
To attempt to describe the individual spaces would just be a disservice to the exhibit (and would take days, weeks, months even?). But, as a whole, it’s a bit like what I imagine a super stellar acid trip would be like. Or… like what we imagine being lost in the time-space continuum might be like.
Truly, the beauty of the installation is that everyone will have their own unique experience and interaction. No two will be alike. So, while you’re given a basic premise upon entering, the remaining interpretation is entirely up to you. Will you go this way or that way? Will you find this clue or that secret portal? Which spaces will you like or not like? Which will you spend time more interacting with? The options are endless.
And the space doesn’t stop with “just” the installation. It also has a children’s learning, a cafe, a bar, and serves as a music venue, too. Most of which—exhibit included—are ADA accessible.
About The Meow Wolf Art Collective
It’s my understanding that Meow Wolf began as an art collective of creative, disaffected 20-somethings trying to make their way in an otherwise fairly traditional art sphere. (As “traditional” art spheres go.) The end result has proved to be quite incredible, however.
“House of Eternal Return” is Meow Wolf’s first exhibit that opened in 2008. But, there’s another you can visit, too—the brand new “Omega Mart” in Las Vegas. And a third installation is in the works in Denver. It’s rumored that “House of Eternal Return” is slated to return to its bowling alley roots November of 2021, though, so get there soon if you haven’t been yet.
While has Meow Wolf become a huge financial success, it stays true to its original mission by engaging in a number of community initiatives. They are officially a B Corporation with an entire Corporate Social Responsibility plan and a formal mission of artist engagement. They’ve also contribute over $1.6 million in donations to non-profits.
A Recommendation For Meow Wolf’s “House Of Eternal Return”
If there’s an art exhibit out there that appeals to the masses, it’s Meow Wolf Santa Fe’s “House of Eternal Return.” It’s intriguing to your standard art admirers; it pulls in a younger generation of art-lovers with its colorful and creative spaces; and, it provides endless entertainment for children. I love that they took ADA accessibility into consideration when creating the installation as well.
Next time you’re in Santa Fe, Las Vegas, or Denver make sure you’ve lined up your Meow Wolf tickets. It’s sure to provide a fun-filled experience for the whole family and truly allow you to travel deeper.
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