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Nick Cave, Soundsuit

Nick Cave, Soundsuit (2009), human hair, metal armature [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Mar 10-Jun 5] Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery Photo: James Prinz

Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth

Seattle Art Museum
Seattle WA – Mar 10-Jun 5, 2011

Nick Cave, Soundsuit

Nick Cave, Soundsuit (2008), Appliquéd found knitted and crocheted fabric, metal armature, painted metal and wood toys [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Mar 10-Jun 5] Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery Photo: James Prinz

Chicago designer Nick Cave’s innovative artwork is featured in his first major nationally touring museum exhibition, Meet Me at the Center of the Earth. The sculptural works can be described as something between static assemblage art and adornment for performance, while succeeding as both.

Cave dubs his on-going thematic constructions Soundsuits. In these labour-intensive costume-like works, Cave sews ephemera like toys and other found materials inside the inner structures. Based on the nature of the found objects, the interior matter resonates with sounds with the movement of the wearer. In pieces created from dyed human hair, various sounds can be soft and supple; in others created from objects like toys and buttons, they are louder and more percussive.

The wonderful fusion of fashion, fibre art, and performance is just the surface of these spirited artworks. Many reference African ceremonial costumes and masks. A deeper aspect emerges from the design elements which obscure the wearer’s identity thereby dissolving racial or ethnic boundaries in a playful and jovial manner.

Nick Cave studied modern dance with Alvin Ailey then earned an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Currently he is the chairman of the Fashion Design Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Cave, with local art students and dancers, is planning a series of impromptu site-specific performances including at the Olympic Sculpture Park Earth Day event on April 16. These Soundsuit Invasions should prove to be as witty as Cave’s stand-alone sculptures.

Allyn Cantor


 Mon, Apr 4, 2011