ACO to open interactive exhibit ‘The King’s Mouth’ by art-focused musician Wayne Coyne

Wayne Coyne, Kings Mouth Installation / Photo: Mario Gallucci, Courtesy ACO

Of all of the exclusive clubs that provide great music, this one might be the weirdest.

A fully immersive listening experience created by Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne called “The King’s Mouth” allows people to experience music from the band that can be heard nowhere else. “The King’s Mouth,” which debuted in Coyne’s own hometown of Oklahoma City in 2015 and has since been installed in cities such as Baltimore and Nashville, will come to Northwest Arkansas for several weeks. The installation is being constructed in partnership with the Arts Center of the Ozarks at a new off-site space just down Emma Avenue from ACO’s headquarters.

Some exhibits promise to be “interactive” but are far less so when viewers approach it. That’s definitely not the case with “The King’s Mouth,” which ACO director of exhibits Eve Smith says will fit six people inside very cozily and perhaps eight people if they don’t mind close quarters. Interaction is required with “The King’s Mouth.”

What: Group exhibition featuring “The King’s Mouth,” an installation by Wayne Coyne
Hours: 2-9 p.m. Wednesday; 2-11 p.m. Thursday – Saturday; 1-7 p.m. Sunday, but subject to change
Where: 115 W. Emma Ave., Springdale
Cost: Free
Info: Call 479-751-5441 or visit

“You can touch it, you can crawl in it,” Smith said.

The idea to bring the exhibit to Northwest Arkansas was first pitched to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, but their packed calendar – which is planned out about three full years in advance – couldn’t accommodate the exhibit. It was then pitched to Smith and ACO. She liked the idea, but didn’t have room in the ACO gallery spaces. That led to the use of the offsite location, which has been reconfigured with the sole purpose of hosting the installation and associated group show.

There was only one other condition for display, Smith said – the show had to also include the work of local artists that could be shown alongside those of Coyne. The work of local artists Kat Wilson, Dillon Dooms and Sasha Rayevskiy will be displayed adjacent to Coyne’s work, which contains the main installation and 14 pieces of two-dimensional mixed media works that illustrate the story behind “The King’s Mouth.” The local artists were chosen because of the way their work complimented that of Coyne’s, Smith said.

The works will be shown Wednesday through Sunday at the gallery space, which will have late-night hours, running as late as 11 p.m. unless crowds dwindle early. To kick off the show, a reception featuring a live painting session from Matt Miller and music from Mike Abb will take place on July 18 at the space. Coyne cannot make the kickoff party, but Smith said he’s promised to do a meet and greet with fans later in the exhibit’s run at a date that’s yet to be confirmed. The show is free to attend courtesy of a gift from the Tyson Family Foundation. Tyson also owns the space that’s been converted into a gallery.

Although Smith is leaving the area to move closer to family after a decade’s worth of work in the arts in this region, she’s hopeful the new space will continue to be a home for contemporary art installations.

“I’ve decked it out. I hope they can use it,” she said.

But for right now, it’s in full use, and full glorious weirdness.