Meow Wolf: Convention-Defying Art House Is Turning Heads {Meow Wolf: Convention-Defying Art House Is Turning Heads} – English

Meow Wolf: Convention-Defying Art House Is Turning Heads {Meow Wolf: Convention-Defying Art House Is Turning Heads} – English

It’s been called “Disney Land for the Instagram age” and a sensory experience that “defies description.” Tucked in a former bowling alley miles away from the established art scene of Santa Fe’s Canyon Road, Meow Wolf is an immersive, eclectic art installation that is commanding the attention of connoisseurs, casual passers-by and experience-seekers from around the world—and growing rapidly in the process.  

Truly, it would be hard to put a label on what, exactly, Meow Wolf is. At its core, it is a communal space for artists and creators of nearly every medium. Established in 2008, the organization has grown to more than 300 employees, including over 200 full-time artists and 80 operational staff. But that would be like describing the Taj Mahal in terms of nails and boards.

The lifeforce of Meow Wolf is its convention-defying, “massive, immersive, multimedia” installations. Impressive in their scope and style, these artworks employ everything from paint and sculpture to “cross-reality” and performance to achieve the surreal. They might be likened to an art gallery on psychedelics.

The most recent evolution of the space is a 20,000 square-foot “House of Eternal Return,” a sprawling showcase of otherworldliness and the first permanent installation. Introduced in 2016, the experiential-art encourages patrons to explore—literally, to rifle through papers, find a combination to a safe or open the fridge (spoiler: its contents aren’t sandwich makings).

As Curbed put it, descriptions don’t quite capture the Meow Wolf’s “hallucinatory weirdness.” That is intentional, the organization’s creative directors explain, who talk about the attractions with purposeful vagueness. The experience is part of the art itself—which could be said for nearly any arthouse, but it is taken to another level by Meow Wolf. That’s largely what distinguishes it from other modern, envelope-pushing conceptions, like San Francisco’s Color Factory or Museum of Ice Cream.

Not surprisingly, Meow Wolf’s popularity has been propelled by social media. Hashtagged over 100,000 times and with nearly a quarter-million followers, Meow Wolf’s digital following is bit of a phenomenon in itself. But photos only scratch the surface.

“We’ve been called out as a place where people go to just take pictures for Instagram,” Caity Kennedy, a creative director, says. “By the very nature of it, they’re unable to see the other 80 percent of what’s in the space that is un-photographable, that’s un-Instagrammable.”

The intangible, you-had-to-be-there qualities make Meow Wolf so remarkable, and the company seems to embrace the quirkiness. Its websites notes, Meow Wolf “champions otherness, weirdness, challenging norms, radical inclusion, and the power of creativity to change the world.” That appeal attracted more than 400,000 guests in 2016, and visitation continues to grow.

Meow Wolf’s missions is nearly as innovative as its art. The organization is committed to community and to supporting artists. It offers an impressive benefits package to workers, including health insurance, gym memberships and classes at the local community college. This year, the company increased its minimum wage to $17 an hour, and it regularly works with local schools to bring art to life. Registered as a Public Benefit Corporation, Meow Wolf earned a solid B-rating for its community impact.

So where does an organization that thrives on creativity go from here? Buoyed by the House of Eternal Return’s success, Meow Wolf is launching exhibits across the country. This year it will introduce the Kaleidoscope, a “non-linear” amusement ride—yes, ride—that invites participants to form their own narrative. Other works are planned for Washington, D.C. in 2022 and Phoenix, Arizona.

This year Meow Wolf hired a new chief creative director, Ali Rubenstein, who previously spent 22 years with Disney where she most recently oversaw the company’s theme parks in Asia. “Here is this amazing company that is championing weirdness and otherness and inclusively,” she told a local news station. “This is a company that I think truly believes and truly can change the world through creativity.”

The Billionaire Halo Effect: The Influence of the Billionaire Population on Lower Wealth Tiers {The Billionaire Halo Effect: The Influence of the Billionaire Population on Lower Wealth Tiers} – English

The Billionaire Halo Effect: The Influence of the Billionaire Population on Lower Wealth Tiers {The Billionaire Halo Effect: The Influence of the Billionaire Population on Lower Wealth Tiers} – English

Over the past six years, Wealth-X has produced its annual “Billionaire Census” tracking the global growth of the billionaire population and billionaire net worth, and the trends that impact how they spend, donate and invest their vast fortunes.

For many organizations, billionaires may seem like an unlikely or unattainable client segment. With just over 2,600 in the world, these individuals in the top tier of wealth are among the most difficult to engage due to the numerous gatekeepers they employ. Even for those organizations that already have billionaires among their clients or donors, billionaires are far from the archetypal wealthy individual they seek to engage, save for perhaps a few super yacht and jet manufacturers.

This relative lack of representation may lead some organizations to discount billionaires as not worthy of serious consideration for development purposes. If billionaires make up such a small part of the donor base or client list, even adjusting for spend, why give extra consideration to what is unique about them? Why spend time prospecting or developing engagement strategies for such a small community – especially when contact with billionaires is more highly gated than any other group of potential clients?

Learn about the
benefits of wealth screening here.

Some companies may also regard billionaires as less important to their engagement strategy because of the price structure of their goods and services; if they are easily accessible to HNW, VHNW or even UHNW individuals, billionaires may seem like an unnecessary group to target.

However, few groups impact HNW, VHNW and UHNW individuals more than billionaires, making it crucial for these organizations to gain a clear understanding of the billionaire demographic and billionaire net worth. This billionaire halo effect on lower wealth tiers is considerable. For many of the wealthy, billionaires are the ultimate social influencers even when those billionaires are not going out of their way to broadcast their behavior. In other words, the wealthy are more likely to be susceptible to following the habits and choices of billionaires across a wide range of fields, which is why understanding billionaire net worth is so important.

In philanthropic giving, billionaires continue to have a clear impact. Giving pledges, types of donations, and the demand for accountability have all trickled down across the wealth tiers.

The Giving Pledge created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett is perhaps the most prominent example. It encourages the world’s most wealthy to donate more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes in an effort to create lasting change. Bill Ackman, Michael Bloomberg and George Lucas are only a few of today’s 191 signatories, a significant increase from the 40 signatories that started the Pledge in 2010.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Larry Ellison once believed that philanthropic giving is a personal matter that should be done quietly. However, he went public with his donation to The Giving Pledge because “Warren Buffett personally […] said I would be ‘setting an example’ and ‘influencing others’ to give.”

Learn more about
cultivating the next generation of donors here.

The billionaire influence also extends to luxury goods, perhaps the most obvious area of impact on the wealthy. The impulse to keep up, as much as one can, with the “billionaire Joneses” has inspired purchases and trends within the luxury goods market.

The travel habits of the ultra-wealthy not only alter the way luxury travel firms engage the wealthy but also continue to influence trends in the lower tiers of wealth. Travel agencies catering to the ultra-wealthy are launching divisions that cater specifically to billionaires on sabbatical, which is a growing trend among the ultra-wealthy. These individuals want bespoke experiences they can share with their families or use to learn new skills, such as snow leopard spotting with the kids or learning to hunt and gather like our ancestors, a trend that has trickled down to lower tiers of wealth and helped generate a luxury experience economy. This is evident in the way many high net worth individuals use social media to show that they are able to partake in similar experiences as the ultra-wealthy.

Financial services & wealth management is another area where billionaire influence can be clearly seen. Many of the wealthy look to billionaire investors like Warren Buffett for guidance on where to put their funds, or to successful billionaires for advice on how to understand market trends. Books, articles and interviews with billionaires offering investment principles are perennially in the news and on bestseller lists.

Some billionaires are seen as oracles for investment decisions. Warren Buffett is called the “Oracle of Omaha” and his advice is not only considered timeless but is referred to as any long-term investor’s bread and butter. Other notable investors include Ray Dalio, founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, and fund manager Peter Lynch. While many billionaires have the luxury of making risky investments, their general outlook on the market is often considered solid advice.

Read about high net
worth wealth management here.

Across philanthropic giving, luxury consumption and financial services, the wealthy look to billionaires for a template to follow. Thus, understanding this wealth tier has a direct influence on how to engage, retain, and develop existing clients who are UHNW, VHNW or even mass affluent.

Wealth-X’s annual Billionaire Census is an excellent guide to understanding billionaire net worth and the global billionaire population: who they are, what they care about, and how they behave. This year’s edition covers several key trends, including how billionaire spending has shifted (their consumption has declined) and where they are holding more of their wealth (in cash).

The report also looks at billionaire passions and interests, including philanthropy, which is the leading hobby among billionaires. More than half are actively involved in charitable giving. Within the field, education is by far the most popular cause. Four-fifths of the billionaire population direct at least part of their philanthropic to education. This includes infrastructure, scholarships and teacher training at the primary and secondary education levels, as well as higher education funding.

These and other trends are important to consider when thinking about how billionaires matter to your business or philanthropic organization, because billionaire engagement is a trend, whether consumption, giving, or asset management has an impact further down the wealth pyramid. In the year of many tech IPOs, these influences may even involve the direct contact of working together in the same office building.

While approaches to billionaires and lower wealth tiers will have some intrinsic differences, it is important to understand billionaire net worth and influence and how the customers in your target client groups are being affected by it. Consider reviewing which activities and trends are benefiting from the billionaire halo. Plan engagement strategies that cater to the aspirational goals of clients, even if they are already very wealthy. Lastly, stay informed about how billionaire behavior is changing, as existing clients and donors will quickly respond to such trends.

Online Retail and the Future of the Luxury Brand {Online Retail and the Future of the Luxury Brand} – English

Online Retail and the Future of the Luxury Brand {Online Retail and the Future of the Luxury Brand} – English

The rise of the digital marketplace—propelled by online giants like Amazon and Alibaba and carried by a slate of popular brands operating primarily as direct-to-consumer—has been heralded by many analysts as a death-knoll for physical retail. By these forecasts, luxury-good storefronts should be among the first casualties. But is the brick-and-mortar shop really on life support?

Certainly, there is compelling evidence to indicate that traditional retail is undergoing a reformation. A rash of recent store closings and bankruptcies among major chains like Toys ‘R Us, Sears and Rite Aid has sent a shiver down the spine of investors. That wasn’t helped any by lackluster Q4 reports from the likes of Kohls, JCPenny and Macy’s—whose over-zealous bet on a blowout holiday season helped wipe out $34 billion in market value from the sector.

The fever seems to have hit mid-market outlets that depended heavily on a physical presence to drive sales particularly hard. From Victoria’s Secret (which announced in February it will shutter 53 locations in addition to 30 last year) to ShopKo (which is closing 38 stores and selling off its pharmacy), the wave of businesses on the doorstep of Chapter 11 points to the challenges facing traditional retail. To be sure, much of that owes to the emergence of newcomers who outperformed the old-guard, particularly in the online space—which only further drives home the point.

In the luxury-goods market, vacancies along Fifth and Madison Avenues suggest a similar trend, and there are plenty of brands that have gone the way of their blue-collar counterparts. In April, Italian fashion-house Roberto Cavalli filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy as it liquidated its U.S. arm. Fashion retailer Pretty Green was placed into administration in March, and last year J.Mendel filed for Chapter 11 protection.   

According to CNBC, major retailers have closed more than 4,800 stores through March of this year. That’s compared to just over 5,500 through all of 2018, which was down more than 30 percent from a record 8,139 closures announced in 2017.

Yet, for all the hype behind online retail and the anecdotal evidence against physical retail, the data still indicates that brick-and-mortar hasn’t given up the ghost just yet—nor is it likely to do so soon. Over 90 percent of retail transactions were made in a physical location last year, and more than 80 percent of sales are expected to still be made in-store by 2025. That reality, many experts caution, recasts the outlook.

“The so-called ‘retail apocalypse’ is not ubiquitous. It does not apply uniformly to all retailers, nor to all types of retail, nor to all geographic markets,” Jim Dillavou of Paragon Commercial Group says. “Indeed, the retail that is dying is the retail that should die. E-commerce is actually doing something important and healthy for retail: it is forcing investment, improvement and innovation in a marketplace that has not changed in decades.”

What about the dip in leases along luxury corridors in places like Manhattan? As Gene Spiegelman, vice chairman and principal at Ripco Real Estate, tells Real Estate Weekly, it is more of a sea change than an emptying river.

“Disruption of the traditional retail model exacerbated a real estate market that was already overheating. Not unlike other financial bubbles, the micro-bubble of high-value urban retail real estate burst by the end of 2016,” Spiegelman says.

He points to the spate of luxury brands migrating to Hudson Yards, the new mixed-use development on the far west side of Manhattan, which is also the most expensive real-estate development in U.S. history. The development has attracted a bevy of luxury names, including Balenciaga, Hermès, Cartier and Dior. Flexible lease options have also drawn in e-commerce brands like Mack Weldon and LovePop to test run brick-and-mortar operations.

The health of physical retail depends largely on who you ask. The reality is probably somewhere in the middle. Brands that have failed to create a strong digital presence have suffered the consequences and forfeited their market share to savvier newcomers. At the same time, online behemoths including Apple and Amazon are investing heavily in retail locations.

What’s clear for retail in an otherwise murky market outlook is this: Successful businesses need both a strong online capacity, an extraordinary experience for customers in-store and the ability to evolve with consumer preferences.

The Wealth-X Billionaire Census 2019 {The Wealth-X Billionaire Census 2019} – English

The Wealth-X Billionaire Census 2019 {The Wealth-X Billionaire Census 2019} – English

The sixth edition of the Wealth-X Billionaire Census reveals that global billionaire wealth declined by 7% in 2018 after reaching record levels the previous year, and the billionaire population also declined by 5.4% in 2018 to 2,604 individuals.

This is only the second time this population has dropped since the global recession a decade ago. The report attributes this significant decrease in wealth to heightened market volatility, global trade tensions and a slowdown in economic growth.

According to the Wealth-X Billionaire Census 2019, many global factors contributed to this fall in global wealth, including a slowdown in global growth, persistent trade tensions and a late-year slump in equity markets. A related strengthening of the US dollar encouraged capital outflows from emerging markets, triggering currency volatility and risk aversion.

To further understand the implications of this decline, the Billionaire Census 2019 uncovers numerous trends among this exclusive population, including:

  • North America was the only region to record an increase in billionaire population – Asia-Pacific, which led billionaire growth in 2017, posted the largest decline in 2018 (13.4%).
  • San Francisco has significantly more billionaires per inhabitant than any other top city – with one billionaire for approximately every 11,600 residents. New York, Dubai and Hong Kong follow in 2nd to 4th place respectively.
  • Billionaires are increasingly congregating in a cluster of cities – the top 15 billionaire cities accounted for almost 30% of the global billionaire population in 2018.
  • Nearly all of the top 15 countries by billionaire population saw a decline – except the US and three European countries: the UK, Russia, and France.
  • Philanthropy is the leading passion or hobby among billionaires – the not-for-profit sector accounts as a primary industry for 4.8% of billionaires; once they have consolidated their fortunes, many billionaires make the full-time transition toward building a philanthropic legacy.

The findings of the Billionaire Census 2019 are derived from Wealth-X’s global database of more than one million searchable records on the world’s wealthiest individuals. This proprietary database provides unrivaled insight into the status of the world’s wealthy, the constantly changing structure of the billionaire population, and emerging trends for future wealth creation.

the full report now

Wealthy Art Collectors: Three Strategies to Engage HNW Clients {Wealthy Art Collectors: Three Strategies to Engage HNW Clients} – English

Wealthy Art Collectors: Three Strategies to Engage HNW Clients {Wealthy Art Collectors: Three Strategies to Engage HNW Clients} – English

As the buying habits of wealthy art collectors continue to evolve, so does the need to enhance engagement strategies. Sweeping changes in technology and the rise of wealthy millennial collectors are two factors making a swift and significant impact on the industry. Galleries and auction houses are adjusting to keep pace and increasingly utilize wealth intelligence to uncover, understand and engage wealthy art collectors based on their interests and capacity to spend.

Collecting continues to stem from appreciating aesthetics, supporting creativity and securing long-term investments. However, in this digital age publicly joining the elite community of HNW and UHNW collectors is often of equal importance and is contributing to the marked increase in collecting activity worldwide. According to the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, total global sales increased 6% to $67.4 billion year-over-year in 2018. Of these global sales, the U.S. made up 44%, the United Kingdom contributed 21% and China followed with 19%.

Today’s wealthy art collectors want to engage in exclusive opportunities and immersive experiences. Social media provides one engagement opportunity and reaches well beyond events, as it encourages young collectors to seek out contemporary art that will garner appeal on social platforms.

It is essential to produce captivating experiences and leverage e-commerce, social media and digital marketing to capture the interest and business of today’s HNW and UHNW clientele.


From Art Basel in Hong Kong, Basel and Miami to the first edition of Frieze Los Angeles, it’s evident that experiences are the new non-negotiable aspects for consequential art fairs.

Exclusive dining events, retail pop-up shops, and film and art performances are immersive experiences offered to art fair attendees. HNW and UHNW collectors attend preview days and programming reserved solely for VIP guests, such as private dining, panel discussions, one-on-one conversations with key artists and other intimate fare.

Experiences present special opportunities to leverage strategic co-op activations and advertising with targeted luxury brand partners relevant to wealthy art collectors – from baby boomers to millennials. Luxury firms such as automotive companies, beauty brands and hotel groups often resonate across cohorts and capitalize on these cross-marketing opportunities.


According to Kejia Wu, Professor at Sotheby’s Institute New York and Columnist for FTChinese, major houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s are dedicated to investing significantly into data collection and analysis, as well as creating streamlined e-commerce interfaces.

Galleries and auction houses must offer fast, secure and simple purchasing processes. Savvy collectors expect to engage in live settings as well as online. It is as important to incorporate technology into the art fair experience, by way of cashless art fairs and mobile apps, as it is to accommodate multimillion-dollar transactions online. They must also invest in e-commerce infrastructure and database management and analytics to provide easy-to-use interfaces for clients and a cleaner client database for internal use.

To remain competitive, they must know their evolving audience. Investing in wealth intelligence enables galleries and auction houses to find and engage wealthy art collectors and wealthy art enthusiasts. The ability to search for potential collectors by age, net worth, location and other metrics is especially useful to those wanting to target wealthy millennials who may be relatively new to art collecting or seeking to start a collection.


Top galleries and auction houses are tailoring their strategies to cater to young millennial art buyers, which requires adapted marketing and communications strategies, a sophisticated online presence and a careful curation with a focus on contemporary art.

As part of a developed digital marketing strategy, galleries and auction houses must build a content marketing plan that emphasizes the use of social media. As previously mentioned, social media provides an excellent opportunity for brands to engage with collectors, provides luxury brands an advertising opportunity, and draws millennials to seek out specific art collections

“Auction houses are doing a phenomenal job in strategizing and tailoring to millennial generations. [They’re also seeing] very loyal groups of millennial buyers purchasing [pieces by contemporary artists like Kaws]” says Wu. Fine contemporary artist Kaws, whose background lies in graffiti art, explains that while her work does not appeal to a mature audience, it draws many millennials interested in contemporary art. One of her pieces is a Simpsons parody of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, which recently sold for $14.7M. Sotheby’s Hong Kong listed the piece for $1m but due to interest from millennial collectors, the artwork sold at a higher price than many well-known classical pieces.

The sale provides valuable insight into the purchasing behavior and power of wealthy millennials, motivating the industry to put this demographic at the center of their strategies. According to Wu, the major auction houses are working diligently to “attract younger generations of collectors, create brand loyalty and expand the client base, converting more millennials into art collectors”.

The industry is evolving at an ever-rapid pace, and the relevance of any gallery or auction house is determined by how well it knows its buyers and how effective it can anticipate and adapt to changes in the marketplace.  Working with expert partners in digital marketing and communications, events and experiential retail, and database management leveraging wealth intelligence will help galleries and auctions houses to not only remain relevant, but to thrive in this dynamic space.