Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nick Cave Exhibit Opening in Austin

Nick Cave

Hiding in Plain Sight


September 29–
December 30, 2012

First Floor Gallery and Film & Video Gallery

The Jones Center
American artist Nick Cave (b. 1959) makes hybrid work that exalts high culture while reveling in low culture, and effortlessly invokes the artistic traditions of at least a dozen nations. He fashions assemblage sculptures, or “Soundsuits,” of found materials: hooked rugs, figurines, toys, twigs, hair dyed outlandish colors, and every variety of button, sequin and bead. African ceremonial costumes are an evident inspiration, along with those of Mardi Gras Indians, glittery Haitian flags, Southeast Asian embroidery, and the spectacle of queer drag culture. A former dancer with the celebrated Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Cave finishes every piece before trying it on to see how it moves and sounds. Videos of performers in the Soundsuits will accompany the focused selection of sculptures on view in the gallery.
Soundsuits make the figure larger than life while masking the wearer’s face. The vaguely humanoid costumed figures are ambiguous, striking notes that range from buoyant whimsy to eerie menace. Despite their visual exuberance, Cave made his first Soundsuit of twigs as a sort of armor for the black male in response to the Rodney King incident and the L.A. riots. Cave wants viewers to think deeply about the world we inhabit and to use their imagination and fantasies to find hope and empowerment. Of his role as an artist, performer, and teacher, Cave says, “The arts are our salvation—the only thing that allows us to heal and also helps us dream about what will make the world a better place. I have a responsibility to the world to do something with my abilities as an artist.”

IMAGE: Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2011, Dogwood twigs, wire, upholstery, basket, and mannequin, 86 x 36 x 28 inches, James Prinz Photography, Chicago. Courtesy of Nick Cave and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.