Nick Cave

Nick Cave, Architectural Forest (installation view), 2011. Mixed media. 136 x 180 x 336 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo credit: James Prinz Photography, Chicago.

The exhibition Let’s C featured one floor of Nick Cave’s iconic Soundsuits, which function simultaneously as sculptures, costumes, and extensions of the wearer’s persona. For more than two decades, Cave has constructed Soundsuits out of a trove of unique, found materials, such as throw rugs, stuffed animals, gleaming buttons, human hair, and other items from thrift stores, flea markets, and estate sales. The sculptural forms of the Soundsuits function simultaneously to display and conceal through the visual references to the exuberance of masquerade and the protection of body armor. This installation included recent works that showcased a new direction in Cave’s practice, introducing a muted palette, uniform surfaces, and dynamic relationships between multiple figures.

The exhibition also debuted a new installation created during his artist residency at FWM in collaboration with FWM studio staff and apprentices. In the work, titled Architectural Forest (2011), Cave aimed to achieve a playground- like atmosphere with cheery, yet mysterious, qualities. As in the Soundsuits, Cave made this work out of a found, noise-making material: painted segments of bamboo curtains. Cave recombined the curtain strands and hung them above a neon vinyl floor to create unique, colorful patterns that shifted in and out of focus as the viewer navigated the perimeter. Architectural Forest served as a mystical setting for Cave’s performance at FWM, which incorporated dance, music, and ambient sounds from the installation itself.

Artist Bio

Nick Cave (American, born 1959) 

Nick Cave received an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield, MI (1989) and a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, MO (1982). In Fall 2011, Cave had two concurrent solo exhibitions in New York, NY at Jack Shainman Gallery and Mary Boone Gallery. Cave was also included in group exhibitions this past Fall, such as 30 Americans: Rubell Family Collection, at the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, DC, and the Prospect.2 Biennial, taking place throughout New Orleans, LA.  His solo traveling exhibition, Meet Me at the Center of the Earth—organized by the Yerba Buena Art Center, San Francisco, CA—will be on view at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, VA through January 2012. Cave has a forthcoming major presentation of his work scheduled for the Tri Postal in Lille, France, in late 2012. His work is held in the following distinctive public collections: the Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY; Crystal Bridges, Bentonville, AR; the Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; the High Museum, Atlanta, GA; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; and the Seattle Art Museum, WA; among others. Cave has received several prestigious awards including the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008), Artadia Award (2006), the Joyce Award (2006), Creative Capital Grants (2002, 2004, and 2005), and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001). Cave lives and works in Chicago, IL where he serves as Professor and Chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.