Sweet Tooth Hotel, Dallas’ original pop-up artist collective, opened its third installment last night in Victory Park. Since making its debut one year ago, the popular creation of Jencey and Cole Keeton has doubled in size and made a permanent home next door to Olivella’s on Victory Park Lane. In its latest form, Sweet Tooth Hotel channels a futuristic Discotech with mirrored globes, flashing lights, and lots of glitter. Each “suite” was created by local artists, many of whom contributed to previous editions, including Shamsy Roomiani, Jeremy Biggers, Tramaine Townsend, new media studio px.lab, and Built by Bender.
At the check-in desk, you’ll find a backdrop of conversation hearts, a neon ice cream cone, and a trolley of suitcases overflowing with colorful goop. Walk through the double doors marked with an S, and you enter a hallway blooming with roses. The buds are made from foam sheets, but they almost look like they were plucked off a wedding cake and stuck to the walls. The hall has four pink doors, two open and two hanging “Do Not Disturb” signs.
The first was my personal favorite of the exhibit, Tramaine Townsend’s Deified, a mirrored fun house with dozens of security cameras and an ominous red sign hanging above what looks like an examination table. This installation is far from sweet, but it is still photo-friendly, as long as you don’t mind a scary aesthetic.
Shamsy’s Bedspring, a dreamy but equally haunting motif, is next door. A twin bed holds a mystic-looking symbol under a canopy of flowers. The floor is green, sparkly, and carefully printed with leaves. If you’ve seen Shamsy’s work before, you’ll be able to recognize this piece as hers right away. It has the same kind of ritualistic feeling as the Cocoon she made at Waas Gallery.
Through another short hallway, you’ll enter the new section of Sweet Tooth Hotel’s Victory Park space. This area has been divided into four open sections, and a private, VIP-only “green room.” It feels like part gallery, part event venue, especially because there’s a big bar and an area for DJs to set up.
The installations in this part are streamlined, mostly rooted in light and projections. There’s a throne with a giant face sculpture above it, and when you sit on the ornate chair, a camera captures your face and projects it onto the sculpture. It’s trippy. There’s also a matte white convertible on a white backdrop, and dynamic projections make it look as though it’s driving through outer space and rainbow forests. The VIP room includes a bunch of on-theme dress up props, and a green screen photobooth that reminds me of the kawaii photo booths at Super H Mart. In the back corner of the space, there’s a stage with colorful lights and a constant stream of fog where visitors can grab a microphone and pose like a rockstar. Other guests can hear the microphone’s audio via silent disco headphones, which feature musical artists like Disco Diamond, who created a soundtrack for px.lab’s Joy Ride and The Throne Room.
Overall, the new Sweet Tooth Hotel is really cool. It’s Instagram-driven, but it’s driven by the artists, too, and you can tell. I haven’t been to all the immersive pop-ups in town, but I’ve been to enough to know that this is likely the best in terms of art. Call it Dallas’ answer to Meow Wolf.
Sweet Tooth Hotel’s Discotech is open seven days a week starting May 25. General admission is $20 and VIP is $40.