After much fanfare, Wayne Coyne’s artistic brain child, Womb Gallery, a “psychedelic art gallery” located at 25 N.W. Ninth, was shut down by The Man over a year ago for various code violations. Not that they were all that surprised.
“It was closed due to lack of proper coding. That would be the best way to put it,” said Jake Harms, venue curator and manager. “When we opened Womb, we just jumped in there and did it. It eventually caught up with us, but now we’re legal. It’s safe to be in our building, and that’s kind of the city’s standpoint — making sure public safety is number one. We care about public safety, but we want to do radical and crazy stuff as well.”
That extra time included installing fire sprinklers and upgrading the restrooms. Now that they are officially city-approved, Womb reopened with a new art installation that’s open to the public, but with the same eye for the outré that Lips fans have come to expect.
The venue opened again earlier this month — to much fanfare.
“We want to just kick off where we left off,” Harms said. “There will always be something new at the Womb. At every one of our openings, there will always be something interactive, something you can take a picture with. That’s the thing you can always expect. We just got this 3-D show that we’re working on now; you come in here, you put on the glasses and you come see the show.”
The gallery’s next exhibit will feature illustrator Michelle Romo, who’s worked closely with The Lips through her Crowded Teeth imprint, not to mention Disney, Loungefly and other collaborations. The show will open Oct. 11. Until then, now that the building’s safety is up to snuff, Harms said their next order of business is to try to keep the parties going all night.
“We’re trying to figure out how to be open all night, where it will actually be a place to go,” he said. “It’s definitely a downer when it’s after 2 o’clock, the bars are closed and you’re still awake and want to party and have fun all night. Hopefully, we’ll still be open. That’s where we are, trying to figure all that stuff out.
“We’re trying to come up with this exciting stuff that you’re gonna be able to interact with,” Harms said. “We’re trying to do our own twist on this art. It’s not a boring gallery where you walk through and stare at the paintings; that’s what we’re trying to get away from. Those are great, but [Womb] is more for the experience, and that’s what we’re trying to get people to be excited about — somewhere you’ll want to party, drink and have fun.”