House of Eternal Return, New Mexico-based arts collective Meow Wolf’s first permanent exhibition, will unveil three new permanent installations in Fall 2022, including a collaboration with Native artist Virgil Ortiz and artists Squidlicker and Jacob Fisher. The new rooms are part of Meow Wolf’s ongoing exhibition evolution program that will offer visitors new experiences annually. A specific opening date will be announced soon.
VIRGIL ORTIZ: TRAILBLAZER IN CONTEMPORARY NATIVE ART
Virgil Ortiz is known as one of the most avant-garde artists of his time, fusing his Pueblo culture with sci-fi, fantasy, and apocalyptic themes that yield provocative and futuristic imagery, challenging societal expectations and breaking taboos. Growing up on Cochiti Pueblo, just south of Santa Fe, Ortiz learned about art in an environment of storytelling, collecting clay, gathering wild plants, and producing figurative pottery. Recently named the recipient of the 2022 Museum of Indian Arts and Culture’s Living Treasure Award, Ortiz considers it his mission to create global awareness that Pueblo communities are very much alive and vital.
Ortiz’s installation is titled Sirens: Secret Passkeys & Portals and features a cast of characters from his Revolt 1680/2180 saga—an ongoing project Ortiz has been working on for the past two decades. Revolt 1680/2180 is the vision of a dystopian future 500 years after the Pueblo Revolt in which time-travelers return to the era to aid their ancestors. They quickly gather the survivors and search for any remaining clay artifacts from the battlefields, realizing that challenges and persecution will continue, making the preservation of their clay, culture, language, and traditions from extinction imperative.
“The freedom to touch, feel, take pictures, and explore an immersive installation opens up many possibilities,” said Ortiz. “It has challenged me to adapt to the idea of having people interact with the displays, decode patterns, listen to the soundtrack and wander around it all.”
SQUIDLICKER: “A HAVEN FOR FLUIDITY”
Squidlicker, also known as Lauren YS, is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work is influenced by dreams, mythology, death, comics, love, sex, psychedelia, animation and their Asian-American heritage. Their installation, which will be in a two-story room accessed through a round portal from the exhibition’s central forest, is entitled The Ancestral Crypt.
Modeled off of Asian prayer spaces, the room is where viewers “can go with our queer ancestors on the ancestral plane,” according to the artist. Loose references to Tu’Er Shen (protector of the queer) and Xiwangmu (queen of the femme) and Guanyin (genderfluid deity of compassion) govern the ideology of the space. The room has a sense of being underground, existing somewhere that feels both futuristic and ancient, with design centered on a neo-Asian feel mixed in with alien, futuristic, western and psychedelic influences.
“Between every plane there is a liminal space—between yin and yang, body and soul, life and death, between the sacred and the profane, reality and surreality, past and future, male and female,” said Squidlicker. “This space is meant to act as a haven for fluidity: a temple to the liminal, to bring into materiality a space for that which defies absolution. An homage to the queer, to the nonbinary, to the shifting, monstrous and in-process.”
JACOB FISHER: REFLECTING ON MOMENTARY INFINITIES
New York-based artist Jacob Fisher earned his BA in studio art from Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where he studied with pioneering installation artist Judy Pfaff. His large scale, site-specific installations have been exhibited nationally. His process, which he calls “highly repetitive and obsessive” allows for introspection and escape while creating works, a feeling he attempts to activate in his viewers. The interactive and accessible pieces–viewers can walk in it, under it, around it–create moments of interactivity, imagination, reflection and play with their contrasting forces of gravity, light and energy.
Primarily working with string and light, his work crosses numerous disciplines. From architecture and digital media to sculpture, Fisher has pushed the boundaries of the way string and light can be used and transformed to create distinct forms, structures and environments. Through the combination of string and digital projections, the work finds a unique aesthetic balanced between organic and synthetic. Although he attaches no narrative meaning to his installations, much of his work deals in momentary infinities.
Fisher’s installation is entitled until I see you again and will be located in the depths of the exhibition space shrouding Space Sphere, the giant interstellar traveling ball.
“As you enter the installation, shape, structure, color, detail, and light grasp your attention,” said Fisher. “The environment diverts your consciousness away from the comings and goings of the outside world, and towards sensation of the physical–the present moment. My hope is that, for a moment, in this odd beautiful world, you forget your efforts to order the chaos of the everyday. For a moment you are filled with tranquility.”
“While the House of Eternal Return is a permanent exhibition, it is also a living, constantly changing exhibition,” said Susan Garbett, General Manager of the House of Eternal Return. “The new installations go beyond their respective rooms, adding the creative psyche of Virgil, Lauren and Jacob to the hundreds of works already displayed. The intention and experience of the entire space evolves with every new brushstroke, every new sculpture, every new touch of an artist’s hand.”
“The House of Eternal Return is the perfect venue for these three new installations; welcoming artists that tap into the nature of infinity, dreams, ancestors and the local Native landscape and people is a wonderful representation of our mission to instill imagination and play in our guests,” Garbett continued. “In the case of Ortiz’s work, history serves as a powerful lens for examining ourselves creatively, changing course and improving how we value art and artists. Fisher’s work brings us the opportunity to find peace in the present, and Squidlicker’s installation is a space of deep ancestral acceptance of the liminal. All of these combine to make some of the most powerful experiences we have offered yet”
The House of Eternal Return was a trailblazer in the burgeoning immersive entertainment realm when it opened in 2016. Over 2,000,000 visitors from every state and dozens of countries have explored the exhibition’s 21,000 square feet of mind-bending, psychedelic art. Blooloop named the House of Eternal Return one of the world’s ten best immersive art experiences in February 2022.