Photo of Whimsical Indoor Setting
Photo by Kate Russell. Courtesy of Meow Wolf.

Meow Wolf Is Opening a Meta Movie Theater in LA

The anarchic art collective is bringing its next surreal dream world to life inside a Los Angeles movie theater.

DoubleBlind Mag

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Lovers of Burning Man-esque psychedelic spectacles, rejoice: The absurdist art playground known as Meow Wolf is opening a new location in Los Angeles. Expected to arrive in 2026, Meow Wolf’s Los Angeles edition will find its home in a movie theater complex at Howard Hughes LA, a sprawling mall on LA’s Westside. While the rest of the multiplex will remain open to moviegoers, Meow Wolf’s permanent exhibition will whisk visitors into a dream world full of cinematic references.

“It’s a little meta. This is a storytelling space about storytelling,” co-founder Sean Di Ianni, 39, who is overseeing the LA edition, told the Los Angeles Times

Meow Wolf Los Angeles will be the company’s sixth offshoot, following another permanent exhibition slated to land in Houston in 2025, and existing locations in Denver, Las Vegas, Fort Worth, and Sante Fe. 

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Meow Wolf began in 2008 as an anarchic collective of Sante Fe artists who bonded out of a mutual feeling that they didn’t belong in traditional art galleries or museums. “We felt like there was this apparatus of gatekeeping that was keeping us out of the art world,” said co-founder Vince Kadlubek in the 2018 documentary Meow Wolf: Origin Story

After picking the name “Meow Wolf” out of a hat, the group of artists started creating elaborate installations together in a collaborative art-making process, building surreal and visually maximalist environments out of repurposed junk and donated items—often, with at least one member tripping on psychedelic drugs. Rather than appoint team leaders, the collective was steered by a chaotic, non-hierarchical, and radically inclusive organizational structure that operated by collective consensus. “We were sort of Santa Fe’s orphans of neglect,” said fellow co-founder Quinn Tincher in the documentary. 

The collective’s first permanent installation, House of Eternal Return, was built by 135 artists in a former bowling alley in Santa Fe, with Game of Thrones mastermind George R.R. Martin as the main investor. Opening in 2016, it was a smash success, attracting millions of visitors who embraced the off-kilter creativity of this “weirder than Disneyland” amusement park. In the years since, Meow Wolf has morphed into a multi-million dollar, VC-funded corporation; its Denver location, which opened in 2021, cost a whopping $60 million and remains a must-see immersive art attraction popular amongst both trippy art enthusiasts and families with young children. 

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As the company has continued to professionalize over the years, leaving behind its DIY roots in favor of becoming a certified B-corp answerable to a board, many have questioned if its anarchic and subversive spirit still lingers. 

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“The problem with Meow Wolf is that it is a supreme act of late-stage capitalism disguised through the collective’s mantra of the underdog as art savior,” the contemporary-art curator Erin Joyce infamously wrote in Hyperallergic, critiquing the company’s plan to open an art-themed hotel in Phoenix. (The project was later canceled.) 

Despite these criticisms, public enthusiasm for Meow Wolf’s brand of immersive entertainment has not wavered. And with the slated Los Angeles location, it’s clear that the company is leaning into the city’s mythos. In a press release, it declared: “Meow Wolf Los Angeles will encapsulate their signature style of maximalist fantasy woven together with a decidedly Angelino twist: cinematic mythos, mysterious eggs, absurd glitz, [and] the fantastical spells cast by Hollywood.”

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