Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nick Cave / Seattle Art Musuem

Untitled, 2009 by Nick Cave
image via Jack Shainman Gallery

I'm so excited - less than a month until Nick Cave's Meet Me at the Center of the Earth opens up at Seattle Art Museum! I didn't realize disambiguation was necessary but recently when talking to a friend I became aware that to certain groups of people, the only Nick Cave they know sings moody, whiskey-rock. This Nick Cave doesn't sing but he is known for his soundsuits.


Nick Cave is a Chicago artist who makes elaborate suits of dyed hair, fabric, beads, toys, twigs, dryer lint and anything else he can find. They stand alone as beautiful artifacts or as you can see in the video above, they can also be worn for performances. Cave studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, so the dancing component is important. Depending on both the suit and the dance, the performances can feel sacred, joyful, or tribal. They explore religious ecstasy, celebration, and the anonymity that costumes provide. Some suits are lovable and it's hard to resist hugging them while others are menacingly dark.

Polar Bear, 2009 by Nick Cave
Mixed media (image via Jack Shainman Gallery)

For Cave, "This whole soundsuit project is really about being able to dream." I think Seattle is susceptible (in a good way) to external influences. Target Practice inspired a lot of us to rethink painting and I can already see the influence of Picasso in some peers' work. I think Nick Cave's show will do the same thing and infuse the city with a desire for color and vibrancy as we head into a beautiful Seattle spring; which is no small feat for a city that loves its black clothes and gray skies.

Nick Cave / Meet Me at the Center of the Earth
Seattle Art Museum
March 10 - June 5, 2011

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