Meow Wolf

Meow Wolf Will Open Its Fourth Immersive Art Outpost in Suburban Texas, Where It’s Promising ‘Caring’ Vibes


Meow Wolf is coming to suburban Texas. 

This week, the immersive art production company announced the details of its newest location, set to open in Grapevine, a suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth, this summer.

Settling into a former big-box retail space within a shopping center that’s also home to a theater, aquarium, and a “LEGOLAND Discovery Center,” the new outpost will boast 29,000 square feet of exhibition space, some 30 separate rooms, a performance venue, and an additional retail space.

Behind-the-scenes work at Meow Wolf Grapevine. Photo: Shayla Blatchford. Courtesy of Meow Wolf.

“We are hiring like mad and the construction barriers that have been put up at [the Grapevine site] can barely hold the collective imagination within,” Meow Wolf Grapevine’s general manager Kelly Schwartz said in a statement

In addition to work by Meow Wolf’s in-house designers, the installation will feature contributions from Texas-based artists, including sculptor Dan Lam, illustrator ​​Mariell Guzman, and painter Carlos Don Juan, as well as offerings from local vendors. 

Behind-the-scenes photos shared by Meow Wolf offer a peak at the company’s preparatory labor, though what the Grapevine installation will ultimately look and feel like remains under wraps. 

Texas-based artist Mariell Guzman. Photo: Jordan Mathis.

In a recent interview on Meow Wolf’s site (the company has its own editorial arm), the lead writer of the project, LaShawn M. Wanak, teased little in the way of aesthetic details, offering a kind of vibe summary of the new branch instead.  

“I can say that it is a story about caring, caring for people,” the writer explained. “When people walk into Grapevine, when they walk into the site, I want their first impression to be: ‘Oh, this is a well-loved place, and the people inside love each other and care for each other.’”

When it opens, the Grapevine location will become Meow Wolf’s fourth dedicated branch, joining outposts in Denver and Las Vegas, and the original project space in Santa Fe. A second Lone Star State installation is in the works, too, as the group prepares to open an outlet in Houston in 2024.

Last May’s announcement of the two new Texas locations was met with criticism online as fans called out Meow Wolf for moving into a state that has curtailed abortion rights and access to gender-affirming care for minors.

In response, the company put out a statement saying that “Meow Wolf has always stood with marginalized people and that includes LGBTQIA communities and women.” 

“We wanna be clear,” the group’s message went on, “we are coming to Texas to bring our support, love, and adoration for those communities by supplying jobs, hosting events, supporting artists, and doing everything we can to give space and time and resources to the communities of Texas facing the most backlash.”

 

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An Artist Suing Meow Wolf for $1 Million Is on the Hook to Pay the Experiential Art Giant’s Legal Fees


As Lauren Adele Oliver’s nearly three-year legal battle with art entertainment giant Meow Wolf continues, a New Mexico federal judge has issued an order granting sanctions against the artist, who will have to pay the legal fees for two motions filed by the popular purveyor of immersive art experiences.

Oliver sued Meow Wolf in March 2020 over the copyright of her sculpture Space Owl. The towering furry figure is the centerpiece of her climate-change themed installation Ice Station Quellette at Meow Wolf’s flagship exhibition, “House of Eternal Return,” which opened in Santa Fe to widespread acclaim in 2016.

Meow Wolf allegedly promised Oliver an “artist revenue share” for her work as part of what was then considered an art collective. She says she was only paid $2,000, even though the company went on to raise millions from investors, eventually expanding to Las Vegas and Denver.

Last week, Judge Kirtan Khalsa ruled that should the case be heard by a jury, Meow Wolf will be allowed to bring evidence that Oliver had deleted five years of email correspondence prior to initiating litigation, Courthouse News reported. Previously, Khalsa had denied the company’s motion to issue sanctions on the matter, ruling that Oliver had not been planning to sue Meow Wolf when she deleted the messages in July 2018.

Lauren Adele Oliver with a <em>Space Owl</em> toy. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Lauren Adele Oliver with a Space Owl toy. Photo courtesy of the artist.

But Meow Wolf’s legal team discovered new evidence that made Khalsa change her mind. A day before the mass deletion, Oliver had sent a text message asking for someone to help her find a “big gun” attorney who would help her secure a better deal with Meow Wolf by threatening litigation.

After reviewing new evidence, Judge Kirtan Khalsa ruled that Oliver “acted in bad faith” because “litigation was reasonably foreseeable” given the deteriorating state of her relationship with Meow Wolf.

“The court found the timing of the deletion to be suspicious” as it came at a period of “a rising dispute” surrounding Space Owl, Khalsa wrote. The judge also noted, however, that she was not convinced that the “deleted [emails] contained information that, if discovered, would have harmed [Oliver’s] case.”

Oliver claimed she stopped using the email address in 2015, after she learned it had been compromised in a hacking attack perpetrated against her insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. She set up an auto-response to let contacts know the address was inactive, and conducted almost all of her correspondence with Meow Wolf at a new email account.

Lauren Adele Oliver's Space Owl at Meow Wolf's "House of Eternal Return." Photo by Gabriella Marks.

Lauren Adele Oliver/Quellette, Space Owl at Meow Wolf’s “House of Eternal Return.” Photo by Gabriella Marks.

“The court’s ruling is complex, and we are weighing our options,” Oliver’s lawyer, Jesse A. Boyd, told Midnight Publishing Group News in an email. “This should not distract from the merits of the case. We intend to demonstrate at trial that Meow Wolf, Inc., impersonated an art collective in order to misappropriate the work of dozens of artists, including Lauren’s, as well as the labor of hundreds of volunteers and the financial support of the Santa Fe community in order to launch their entertainment empire.”

The latest ruling is just a small part of the case pending before Khalsa, who has scheduled a settlement conference for January 18. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the long-running dispute could go to trial.

As of press time, lawyers for Meow Wolf had not responded to inquiries from Midnight Publishing Group News.

In the lawsuit, Oliver is seeking more than $1 million in compensation, arguing that Space Owl, which she first created in 2006, was integral to Meow Wolf’s initial success, and widely used in its marketing and merchandise. Midnight Publishing Group News included “House of Eternal Return” on its list of the 100 defining works of the decade, with a photo of Space Owl illustrating the groundbreaking installation.

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