A Trip Inside Omega Mart at Las Vegas, Nevada

Lex sez:

Las Vegas has always had a reputation for pushing and breaking boundaries, for stretching the possibilities of what you can legally experience in America. If that can be done in Las Vegas with gambling and other forms of entertainment, why not an immersive art experience? That is the challenge that Meow Wolf, an arts collective based in Santa Fe, rose to when they opened Omega Mart at Area 15 in Las Vegas in February 2021. Neek, Sar and I couldn’t wait to discover what it was all about!

We arrived at Area 15 and before going inside checked out some fascinating sculptures outside. The one that really captured my attention was a gigantic robot corpse titled Mehan 9 by Tyler Fuqua that was a tribute to Iron Giant and other great sci-fi creations. But the most fascinating experience outside was Infinity Ship (No. 1) by Matt Elson. It is a shipping container that has been transformed into a kaleidoscopic infinity room. I had a lot of trippy fun in there and since it’s ADA-compliant, Sar was able to enjoy it too.

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The entrance to Area 15

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A giant colorful owl wanted to see what the fuss was all about

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Their passionate love made them melt all over each other

As amazing as the sights and experiences were outside, it was just a warm-up act for the inside of Area 15. Going through the door was like entering a portal to an evening psychedelic landscape filled with art displays and shopping places. We went in about an hour before our ticket time for Omega Mart, but there was so much to see, the time went by quickly. My favorite piece of art inside was Valyrian Steel by Henry Chang. What an amazing vehicle design – to me it looked as if Skeletor from He-Man had repurposed the Batmobile for his own wicked plans! In a visually stunning setting, I thought it was really the centerpiece of cool.

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Was this a warning to go no further?

After seeing all this, I was wondering how the main event, our primary reason for coming, Omega Mart, would measure up. It honestly blew everything else away. I knew that it would be a supermarket as an art experience – I thought it might be a parody or satire of Walmart – but as the sign outside the store says, “You have no idea what’s in-store!” For starters, I loved Omega Mart because I felt my sense of humor and Meow Wolf was in total synchronicity. I loved the clever names of the products they were selling – naming a laundry detergent “Plausible Deniability” was a particular favorite of mine. The stretchy psychedelic bending of the dairy section was memorable. Do not miss the deli meat section – so many innovative famous and infamous art designs will make you never look at meat the same way again! And every so often, someone would hack into the feed of the video monitors warning all the shoppers about some sinister “Additive S” in the products. Most intriguing!

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It looks familiar but….

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Delicious works of art?

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They will tattoo your meat before you take it home

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Oh really!

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So they say!

Here’s one of the many interesting “trips” I had at Omega Mart: I had just completed a browsing of the front of the store when by accident I found myself in the back of the store. There was a gardening section in the front of the store with interesting roses when I noticed a backyard tent with the flap open. I literally crawled inside and noticed the tent had a corridor that stretched on around a corner that other people were crawling out of. Like Alice in a Tent Wonderland (or is that Alice going down a camping rabbit hole?) I crawled on until the corridor opened to a room I could stand up in. The room was a giant expanse filled with swimming colors and everchanging lights I can only describe as nirvana. Encapsulating the bliss was a soundscape so rich, layered and soothing I felt bathed in it! I later found out this ambient music was by the king of ambient music, Brian Eno of Roxy Music fame. This was my introduction to the back of the store.

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An infinite amount of creepy heads!

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???

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A worm hole watermelon

A word of advice to anyone wanting to go visit Omega Mart: it’s easy to get lost there! That’s both a bad and a good thing! I went back to the front of the store to find Neek and Sar, but I couldn’t find them. Then I got lost in the brilliant displays and surreal walkways before searching for them again in the back. No sign of Neek and Sar there, so I went upstairs. I found myself in an employee break room where a video was playing that looked like a TED talk of the CEO’s daughter, Cecelia Dram, the 2nd in command of Omega Mart. Then I found a room with charts and computer files that seemed to indicate some dark conspiracy involving the corporation that owns Omega Mart called Dramcorp, with the CEO, Walter Dram, supposedly missing or murdered and then plans for some form of world domination, perhaps?! Could it have something to do with the mysterious “Additive S”?! I realized I could get sucked even deeper down a metaphorical rabbit hole if I chose to pursue all the details of this storyline, so I left to visit other rooms. Fortunately near an infinity room, I found Neek and Sar, who were both in absolute awe and a state of wonder!

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The lost garden

There were more things we explored upstairs. We found a room with sound machines, where we had a lot of fun creating our own beats. A creepy hallway lined with creepy portraits of Omega Mart executives lead to other rooms. Neek and Sar explored those and I went on one of the massive double helix slides, which was really a dark portal that took me down to the first floor in the most exhilarating way!

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We were losing all touch with reality

Finally, the three of us found a place on the second floor where we could sit and just chill. As we watched a brilliant light display against a wall morph into alien spaceships, all set to beautiful Brian Eno music, we all agreed that there was nothing quite like this place. That it might take multiple viewings to truly catch everything, it was so hypnotic and overwhelming. Absolutely the most fantastic and memorable art installation – you don’t just see it – you experience it!

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We made it out and went on our way!

16 thoughts on “A Trip Inside Omega Mart at Las Vegas, Nevada

  1. MadRose says:

    Was wondering what you guys have been up to, and where! Impressive, and I think overwhelming! I know I’d get lost and cry until someone would find me! But, then I’m old now. Thanks for sharing an unbelievable happening looking place! How long does it stay in Vegas?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It absolutely was overwhelming, MadRose! There’s just so much to digest there, you need to take rest breaks like Neek, Sar and I did. Fortunately they do have places to sit when you get exhausted exploring. There’s no closing date listed for Omega Mart, so hopefully it will stay in Vegas for years to come! -Lex

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