SchoolArts Magazine

May-June 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Pull-out Resource Looking & Learning Communit s essential to the survival of the arts. C ommunity is essential to the survival of arts, whether it's a group of artists that share studio spaces and discuss their work, friends that visit galleries and museums together, or the local communities where artists live and work. Community support helps create an environment in which artists can grow and flour- ish, by providing venues for artists to show their work, schools for students to learn about art, and parks and buildings that house public artwork. Art history is full of groups of artists that worked in communal ways (impressionists, cubists) or as collaborative collec- tives (Dadaists, Fluxus, Guerilla Girls). Some artist groups focus on interacting with their local com- munities to bring art directly to the people, especially those who are not familiar with art museums and galleries. Meow Wolf This month we are focusing on Meow Wolf, an up-and-coming art collective from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Meow Wolf creates monumental interactive art experiences, installations, and exhibitions that combine visual, audi- tory, and physical experiences in cre- ative and unpredictable ways. Formed in 2008, the group is composed of artists, musicians, actors, performers, computer techs, and engineers. Their space is a converted bowling alley, which now houses studio spaces, gal- leries, and a community art education center. Constructing Alternate Realities The construction of alternate realities is a staple of Meow Wolf's projects. Glitteropolis was a collaboration by nineteen artists who constructed glit - tering fantasy structures in the New Mexico State University art gallery. In many ways, these fantasy façades resemble the stage sets of 1930s fan - tasy musicals. For Omega Mart (2012), Meow Wolf worked with 1,000 Santa Fe students to create fake products for a fictitious store that even contained advertisements by "competitors." Geo - decadent (2010) was a geodesic dome crammed with found objects from the 1950s, as if the objects had been sucked up by a giant vacuum cleaner into a giant wad that people could manipulate or examine. Art on the Fringe Meow Wolf's goals are to involve a wide range of contributors to their artworks, especially those who are on the fringes of the booming art gallery scene in Santa Fe. In essence, Meow Wolf is advocating a broad range of freedom of expression without the lim - itations of needing to make something "marketable." For example, the prod - Meow Wolf, Glitteropolis, 2011. Photo by Caity Kennedy. ucts represented in Omega Mart—such as "Tooth Slime" and "Youtheniz - ers"—are products of imagination, but the concept of a completely fake store with fake products is reminiscent of Claes Oldenburg's installa - tion, The Store (1961). Oldenburg was part of a generation of art - ists who consciously strove to make art accessible to the general public, thus helping create a public forum of discussion for alterna - tive art forms. Meow Wolf is a logical successor to historical groups of artists who worked towards common goals, with or with - out a "manifesto." Just as the Dada art- ists in the late 1910s sought to redefine art using a lack of logic as a reaction to World War I, Meow Wolf gives voice to a myriad of artists who might not oth - erwise be heard. Meow Wolf gives voice to a myriad of artists who might not otherwise be heard. schoolartsonline.com 23

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