Coming to theatres for a one-night event across the US tonight, Thursday, November 29:
MEOW WOLF: ORIGIN STORY
Morgan Capps and Jilann Spitzmiller
Tallgrass, BendFilm, Santa Fe, Denver
The story of the inexplicably popular Santa Fe-based artist collective.
Founded in 2008 by a group of young artists decidedly outside of Santa Fe’s very mainstream arts culture, the intentionally randomly-named group emerged to create an alternative space for art and music in the community. As detailed in Capps and Spitzmiller’s project, largely an oral history by members of the collective, they achieved unlikely financial success through their large-scale, immersive installations – so much so that they have been able to expand into other cities. Skirting the line between art and entertainment – if not arguably crossing it completely – the collective seemingly has been able to tap into audience desires for a kind of perpetual adolescence or even childhood, inviting play and exploration, despite – or perhaps because – the work itself is garish, crude, and fairly one-note. The film’s subtitle, in its reference to a familiar trope of comic books and fantasy films, underscores this kind of preoccupation with pop culture/entertainment. On the whole, the film is too celebratory, never really interrogating some key questions behind the group, whose membership seems on the surface to be a fairly homogenous, white one, though interviewees do occasionally offer thoughts on Meow Wolf’s growth and the clash of art vs commerce.