Nick Cave

I'm looking forward to getting a closer look at artist Nick Cave's "soundsuits"-- wearable, mixed media sculptures of the most fantastical proportions. Constructed of materials like found fabric, metal armatures, plastic bags, twigs, sequins, and hair, the sculptures are a marriage between haute couture and African ceremonial costume. So, Carnaval's more cerebral cousin on very good acid.

Cave's journey to the role of visual artist has been a slightly but admirably circuitous one; a dancer at Alvin Ailey, he previously produced his own clothing line. He currently serves as the chairman of the fashion design department at the Art Institute of Chicago. Interestingly, his first soundsuit-- which had not yet been christened a "soundsuit"-- was created in response to the Rodney King beating and the riots that followed the acquittal of the government sanctioned perpetrators. It wasn't until Cave actually donned the suit, which was intended to stand on its own, that the artist realized it produced sound.

Naturally, "[Cave] is as interested in fashion and cultural, ritualistic and ceremonial concepts as he is in politics, a domain that has always been part of his work as demonstrated by acts of collecting and reconfiguring elements and concealing the identity, race, and gender, of those who wear his suits. Rendering them faceless and anonymous the suits help these individuals transcend the political realm in order to enter the realm of dreams and fantasy" (

Having just spent a couple months in Japan, I could definitely stand to relax, relate, and release. Even if it's just vicariously. Also, the ski mask at the top there? I'd wear that.

If you're in New York:

Recent Soundsuits - Nick Cave 2009
January 8 - February 7
Jack Shainman Gallery
513 W 20th Street
New York, NY 10011


January 22, 2009 at 1:41 PM Anonymous said...

This is nutty brilliance. He inspires me to be more offbeat in my pronouncements of any sort. Like what I just wrote. What did I say even?

January 23, 2009 at 9:04 AM Style Noir said...

To me, you're making perfect sense-- but, I hate to tell you, my cosigning may actually be to your detriment. Ha!

But this stuff is just wild, right? And I'll bet it's even more insane in person...

January 26, 2009 at 4:53 AM Anonymous said...

In my dreams, Nick Cave will collaborate with the other Nick Cave. I think they have something to offere each other.

January 26, 2009 at 9:04 AM Style Noir said...

Totally agreed, Lindsay. Let's see how long it takes for the Nicks to cave.