It has gotten me to face who I am. MB: Hey, if that’s the entrance plan, I’m glad. And no defining that through any particular [thing], but just what is your self-hood, what is that made up of, and how do you prove that? Then I got the results, and I don’t care because it doesn’t really matter to me. So the thing about “The Let Go” and working with these individuals, it was these testimonies that these kids were willing to share. MB: I definitely saw that in “The Let Go” with Jorell Williams and the Sing Harlem Choir. “I sit in silence every day. Cave was sitting in a park, feeling vulnerable and cast aside, when he saw a discarded twig on the ground. Feeling that there’s nothing else, and I have to get back up and get back in the game. Interview ; Art; Share. NC: “The Let Go” came before the Park Armory. Nick Cave: 'I have to spend hours talking to fucking idiots like you' It's August 1988 and the Bad Seeds frontman and 'journalist's nightmare' is in ferocious, fighting form. The Missouri native and his team assemble thrift … As you mentioned, other instances of police brutality and violence were important catalysts for your show at MASS MoCA. I’m also excited to stand back and watch how Until will deliver itself to viewers. We’re living in a time where we can find ways of working that can inform as well as find common ground. I wanted to say something about issues that are important to me. I never know what to tell them. This interview originally appeared in the print edition of RAIN magazine in the fall of 2018. MB: Maybe not classically, but fashion was your initial interest, right? Is that something that just strikes you? So there are ways we can almost enforce a particular way of thinking, a particular way of acting that informs and sheds light on [situations]. Which will also be what’s left behind. I’m a messenger first, artist second. You have talked about how the first Soundsuit changed you as an artist and how you began to embrace the idea of civic responsibility. It’s really about creating the setting for us now to do the work that is asked. Born in Fulton, Missouri, in 1959, the artist Nick Cave has been meticulously building a language, a vernacular, of symbolism, artifact, and ritual. I would go to the Museum of Natural History and look at all these artifacts and art objects, which all served a purpose within a particular culture. I can’t think of anything since Barbara Kruger. Tomorrow (Saturday, February 23) the new exhibition Nick Cave: Feat. Harnessing the Penchant for Play Teaching with Contemporary Art You’re holding up my back, I’m holding up your back. Even the Soundsuits, somebody has to dance in them. Artist Nick Cave discusses creating his first Soundsuit in 1992 in response to the Rodney King beating. MB: Maybe this is a bold question to ask, but if there’s something you’d want an audience to walk away with after experiencing any of your performances, what would it be? How can I create a project that will reach hundreds of thousands of people and raise their level of consciousness about these issues? The installation opens with this kinetic force composed of sixteen thousand wind spinners. It allows me to be clearer, get clearer. And I think the moment we all get outside of these communities and neighborhoods in which we’ve been raised, and we operate in the world, our purpose is very different. Look for the plus icon next to videos throughout the site to add them here. NC: That’s the first time I’ve ever said that. MB: Totally. MB: Right. Find an in-depth biography, exhibitions, original artworks for sale, the latest news, and sold auction prices. I grew up in Houston, and you went to school in North Texas, right? Jacquelyn Gleisner—Until is your largest installation to date, featuring more than a dozen Black lawn jockeys, twenty thousand wind spinners, and more than ten miles of crystals. Where it serves the community in some aspects? These dazzling sculptural costumes are made of thousands of found objects, buttons, old toys, and other everyday items, but their visual brilliance conceals a darker message. Dancers were transformed into colorful beings in a magical and ritualistic performance of singing and dancing, while streamers several stories tall became mobile as the event transformed into an interactive party. Cave created these armored vessels as a reaction to Rodney King’s beating in 1991. All around the world, they would have permanent residencies. NC: For the most part, it’s the latter. You flatten as you go. Sep 9, 2011. See available sculpture, design, and paintings for sale and learn about the artist. His performances and installations have since been exhibited around the world and his objects collected by the most prominent institutions and museums. I went there because there was a professor I wanted to continue working with, Professor Spear. I’m horrible at it. Falling and getting back up, and having a clear understanding of the pros and cons. I started out solo in the studio and then it changed to me having a staff of about 10, which varies from 10 to 30, depending on each project. Nick Cave created his first Soundsuit after the Rodney King beating in 1992. So they were all left with this certificate through this rite of passage. [For Untitled (Portrait of Ross in LA) (1991), the Cuban artist González-Torres assembled a 175lb pile of candy that visitors were invited to take a piece from, its depletion representing the diminishing weight of his late partner as he died from Aids.]. It’s the same thing in New York. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Cave_(performance_artist) That’s what’s gonna set you free. So it was this amazing journey in which you would find yourself moving through the spinner force, and then you would come up on this enormous, crystal, cloud-scape that you could then climb up to the top of and see above the object. MB: You’ve had such a long and historic career, and that show… I haven’t been yet, unfortunately. Interview by Mark Benjamin. You have to trust that I can make it. I’ve been in this building for maybe 15, 20 years. Now that you’ve completed this project, what’s next? So it was about all of the above, and what you were talking about as well—that we’re not defined by what we look like. Seventy-two people were shot and killed in October. And you’re just trying to make things, and you just need isolation to do that. It has gotten me to face who I am. So there’s always this very dark, underlying message that is—. Cave’s work began at the intersection of art and fashion with the creation of his Soundsuits: spectacular objects removed from race, class, and context, they are to be worn and performed in. Nicholas Edward Cave, dit Nick Cave [nɪk ˈkeɪv]3, né le 22 septembre 1957 à Warracknabeal (Australie), est un artiste pluridisciplinaire australien ayant acquis sa notoriété en tant que chanteur, auteur et compositeur du groupe Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, où il exprime sa fascination pour la musique populaire américaine et ses racines, notamment le blues ; il est en outre écrivain, poète, scénariste et occasionnellement act… NC: Yeah. Standing up to fear is how I was able to… and just gambling my ass off, too. Because I think it’s all about service— like, how do we [offer a] service to the world? I’ve been looking for a building for about five years. Resistance can be about taking a positive kind of approach, and I sort of created “The Let Go” as a form of resistance. Born in Fulton, Missouri, in 1959, the artist Nick Cave has been meticulously building a language, a vernacular, of symbolism, artifact, and ritual. Later he fabricated a symbolic suit of armor, using hundreds of collected twigs. This is great.” Which I think is what you wanted to achieve. I gotta get back in the game.” So that’s what I did. As you move through the installation, you enter a crystal cloudscape, an enormous sculptural object suspended in the air. Could you talk about how your art is a part of the healing process for issues like gun violence and racial injustice in this country? MB: Amazing. Facebook. I also wanted to ask you about Texas. That was my first Nick Cave moment. Suddenly, I could be guilty until proven innocent. There were moments where I… situations where… projects that fell apart, performances that fell apart in front of, like, 3,000 people. Cave shares his thoughts on pipe cleaners and fashion week, and invites everyone to come to his playground. The interesting thing about this show is that, in order to leave the space, you have to walk through the installation again. Once I came to terms with that, the art thing became very different for me. MB: It’s real. NC: Yeah, and then you’re like, “Gotta go.” I think we’re suppose to be living in the world as opposed to living in the country. Got me.” But it makes sense, it’s like Félix González-Torres and the eating of the candy. Nick Cave Nick Cave artist page: interviews, ... April 17, 2003 • Nick Cave made a lot of noise in the post-punk era of the 1980s with his previous band, The Birthday Party. This interview originally appeared in the print edition of RAIN magazine in the fall of 2018. 1959, Fulton, MO; lives and works in Chicago, IL) is an artist, educator and foremost a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance. That was my first reaction—just, “What is going on here?” Because it’s very imposing, especially for a kid. Yet, at the same time, there are still opportunities. It’s frightening, but you can’t look away. Then it became a square at the head, and it was 8ft tall. I’m telling you, there were times when I was like, “Oh my God, I can’t… this isn’t working.” But there was something bigger— bigger than me. And yet I’m also asked to view this with the utmost respect and… That’s when I started to think about my work differently. That’s when I knew that there was a shift in my purpose. It takes time to really develop something, and once you understand that, that means your foundation is solid, you’re able to build whatever you want on top of that. This summer, his most recent show, “The Let Go,” was performed several times each week at the Park Avenue Armory by the Mama Foundation for the Arts and the Sing Harlem Choir, in collaboration with the creative director Bob Faust. MB: Right, because even a collector doesn’t really own it. In 2016? It’s me looking at black-on-black crime. NC: Well, they used this program where it’s midnight—I’m not sure what it’s called—and they invite artists to do video work. Luckily, I had great grandparents, grandfathers and uncles, who were extraordinary and who are extraordinary. NC: I remember being in Times Square when I was 35, 40, thinking, “If only I could have these monitors.” But that’s the amazing thing about life—it’s about dreaming. Interview by Stanley Nelson at the artist’s studio in Chicago on December 15, 2015. You cannot walk through the space without sharing what you’re experiencing. Nick Cave’s Until was on view at MASS MoCA in 2017. MB: Well, you might even celebrate it. But for some reason, I was like, “I gotta get up and face the truth. Then you walk upstairs to the mezzanine level to see a waterfall made of Mylar streamers. You’re classically trained as a fashion designer, right? NC: It’s been magnificent to develop and to work within communities and find ways of being proactive in using art as vehicle for change. Five hundred eighty-two people have been killed so far this year. I think I’m a messenger first and an artist second. I’m living in fear, emotionally. NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS en concert : Ses textes, pétris de références bibliques et peuplés de personnages inquiétants, et sa musique, qui puise aux sources du blues, du gospel et du rock'n'roll, forment le socle d'une oeuvre dont la richesse foisonnante et la cohérence presque étouffante fascinent. Three years ago, the museum’s curator Denise Markonish invited Cave to show in the notorious Building 5 at MASS MoCA, a cavernous space as long as a football field, but her invitation came with a caveat: no Soundsuits. MB: Right. We spoke with Cave at his home base of Chicago, Illinois, about his life’s work and practice. And I found that, out of all the grad students, I was always the only one there. Eventually you come to this landscape of mountains made of beaded camouflage nets. NC: Yeah. Nick Cave: Meet Me At The Center Of The Earth January 10 – May 30, 2010. Interview by Mark Benjamin. Photo: Casey Jones. Art professor and performance artist Nick Cave was born February 4, 1959 in Fulton, Missouri. Again, I’m doing all I can to bring [communities] together in these mass quantities and… Like with Park Armory, we worked with more than 100 social services that occupied the armories daily. So when I was watching “The Let Go,” this process of all of these components being brought out to all these normal people, dancers, and then being equipped with all of these…. MB: [Texas] is such a strange place. The work may be incorporated in the performance or it may not be. MB: That’s also something that interested me—your works are never really just you. The amount of people who turn their backs on situations they’ve witnessed and then go out to dinner. I saw myself differently after [the King beating]. And to be able to selectively create this environment occupied by this moving curtain called Chase, and that curtain was designed with one side red, black, green, followed by blue, black. MB: Yeah. Then, with yours, it’s the reverse—the performance is front and center. That is not quite from this place. And I’d be hiding out for four months, just embarrassed and deflated. I just thought, “Wow, this is amazing. Lately I’ve been selling performance works, which is amazing because there are museums that will take care of each performance, and they will continue to perform the piece. Twitter. I am interested in the repressed, dark, and racial commentary embodied in these artifacts. But it’s never been that I was interested in fashion as a pathway, or dance as a pathway. You mentioned “Until” earlier—it started at MASS MoCA, right? The Soundsuits became … So it’s really lived in this un-peculiar kind of place that tends to arouse some sort of emotion. You’ve stated that you’d like your art to function as a form of diplomacy. NC: I don’t dream a lot. Not in that sense, but I dream. I feel like I’m protected only in the privacy of my own space; the moment that I walk out of my home, I can be profiled, and I am looked at very differently. My mind races like crazy. MB: It was pretty crazy for me to see that visually. I needed every part of my being to see if it was possible. MB: That’s amazing. With that optimism in mind, you’ve described yourself as a messenger who brings people together to heal through art. I was working in creative environments, but internally… I wasn’t happy. You can’t really define it. For the MASS MoCA show, I wanted to put the viewer into the metaphorical belly of a Soundsuit. What strange culture, what strange people?”, what kind of crazy things do you think might be going through their mind? It’s police shootings, it’s BBQ Becky, discrimination…. So it was really about stripping down one’s identity and building oneself. The lawn jockeys at MASS MoCA are all holding beaded dream catchers—my effort to speak about optimism. MB: That’s crazy. And I’ve been sitting in silence for decades because, as a creative person, you’re the judge of the time you’re alone. I thought, “I’ve got to figure this out.” But I’m one of the lucky ones. You would never know that. NC: Yeah, my first grad school. NC: Exactly. Nick Cave. NC: We could all go together, how about that? If I say I can make it, I can make it. From that moment, I became an artist with a conscience. NC: So that’s the beauty of where I’m at now in my career. And it’s gotten me clear. That’s the shit that’s important —creating these platforms for people to see what is possible, what their future could look like. I first came across your work when I was a teenager, at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. NC: Because I find that unity and… those are my ambassadors. MB: Tell me about it. Yes, these objects are out there, in the space of disparity and repression, but I do not operate there. [“Until”] was this immersive, kinetic installation, all those wind spinners spinning in that entire space by these little motives at the top. “Until” is somewhere else in the world and it’s there for ever. There’s something, there’s a vibe that I… I don’t dance, I don’t usually get all rowdy, but there’s just some spiritual thing that allows you to just let go, you know? The Rodney King beating put me in the position to be the voice of the innocent. I can be working in the studio sometimes and then I’m bawling—just a disaster. I think it’s every night at 11.45. All lives matter. Its formality is based there, but there’s a higher reason for the delivery. Cave’s work began at the… The lawn jockeys often hold lanterns in a subservient position; in this installation, I wanted to shift that [image]. Nick Cave created his first Soundsuit after the Rodney King beating in 1992. MB: When you were growing up, did you know that you wanted to be an artist or imagine that you would ever have such a flourishing career as an artist? But for the most part, I’m underground, producing and trying to come up with the next project and developing that, and then I present it to the world. I want something a lot more cohesive, where transitions are easy. MB: That makes a lot of sense, and I feel it all the time. All Rights Reserved. ; 1982). There’s an urgency I feel, as an artist, as an African American man, as a citizen of the United States, and as a resident of Chicago. So, it’s going to be all of that. As I’ve gotten older, seeing your work has turned more into intrigue and curiosity, and also more celebration. Photography by James Prinz. That whole project came out of, I think it was Freddie Gray had just [died]. Photo by James Prinz, courtesy of MASS MoCA. As I was developing this project, the Michael Brown incident happened in Ferguson, Missouri; Freddie Gray went down, and then Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and Christian Taylor. Denise Markonish, curator of MASS MoCA, came to my studio in 2015, at the beginning of the year, and said, “We want to offer you gallery 5—we’ll be back in a year to see what you have decided to do.” And I hadn’t been thinking about it and then, all of a sudden, [Freddie’s death] triggered the project. Without the people, there wouldn’t be art. © 2020 RAIN Magazine. I’m more into volume, and the alternative ways of helping this vast world via communities through this art experience. MB: Totally. Notably, your installation does not contain a single Soundsuit. How does the question, “Is there racism in heaven?” connect to the show’s title, Until? Cave—the 60-year-old queer visual artist, ... which is the core purpose of the Soundsuit,” Cave said in an interview. It’s that I may have a concept or idea, but as you said before, I have always had a group of people, participants, who have always been part of my process—whether fabricators, dancers, musicians, or curators, they’ve always given me this amazing platform to dream. And that this experience had given them permission to be who they need to be was just everything. For me, it was the police chasing a minority. Chicago’s my incubator—it allows me to experiment and test out ideas. Growing up there and then moving to New York… I compare it to Plato’s cave—you get out and you’re like, “You know what, it’s not normal to have a separate pledge of allegiance to the state flag. The only other time I’ve felt like that—frightened and intrigued at the same time—was probably those three minutes during Dumbo when those pink elephants are dancing. An always-on video channel featuring programming hand selected by Art21, Curated by Art21 staff, with guest contributions from artists, educators, and more, Explore over 700 videos from Art21's television and digital series. NC: Exactly. For example, Solange Knowles will perform there. Photo by James Prinz, courtesy of MASS MoCA. There are also these moments where we’re back to back. The public artwork has been attacked by … I’m sort of in hiding when I go home, because I can’t bear to see anyone. NC: In a city, in a place that we didn’t know was available and possible. Cave points to gun violence and racism in this country as the driving forces for his wearable sculptures. I’m taking a stance. The way I work is that I’m pretty quiet until I’m ready to hit. The incident in 1992 put me in a very vulnerable position; [it made me defensive]. Like, “The Let Go” lives somewhere for ever, and it’s performed for ever. Do you see them now becoming more a place to escape to than a form of resistance? But that’s not really important. I’ve found buildings that were the one and then the zoning couldn’t be changed, so it’s taken a while. I’m nearly 60 and at that scale… so, I can’t even tell you what to expect. It’s an amazing feat to be consumed by consumerism and the insanity. Nick Cave – Soundsuits, 2013, 2016, 2011 Nick Cave – Soundsuit. And at the same time, with the choir, with these kids who have never… who didn’t even know that the armories existed… to be able to stand on that stage and to look around and think, “We’re performing here.”. It’s gotten me to understand who I am. NC: I know. I’m doing a video installation there on all the monitors, from December to February. And if you do not give it [time], that becomes undeveloped. There was a time when I wouldn’t sell a Soundsuit unless it was performed, because I wanted that history there, I wanted them to be connected to something. I don’t know. NC: What I would like the future to look like is I would love to be able to create these projects, these dream projects, where they are permanent. Nick Cave: I’m doing great. In spite of everything that’s happening, I can take control over my destiny and respond to these horrific concerns. Nick Cave recalls the impact of the community in which he was raised and how that encouraged him to pursue his creative interests. In a sense, they own the vessel, they don’t own the performance. But it was all [about] working in this trans-disciplinary way. MB: That’s awesome. And for me that’s how everything is possible. MB: No way. Chicago artist Nick Cave says he has always been fascinated with items cast off by other people. This interview was originally published on December 4, 2015. I needed to become selfish to see if this was possible. The floor is reflective, intensifying the presence of the wind spinners. Nick Cave: Here Hear continues at Cranbrook Art Museum (39221 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills, MI) through October 11. Our site uses cookies. It’s the only time I can tolerate it. Portrait by Sandro. And I’m adopted, so I don’t really know. It allows me to be protected, to not get distracted. I can be there about three or four days, and it feels great, it’s easy, it’s cheap, everything’s bigger. This world. NC: So, I’m looking at the dualities of the ways of looking at objects, looking at environments, looking at relics and thinking, “Wow.” So it’s even more powerful now that I can understand [an object’s] role in society. I don’t really think about it, because the work is not rooted there [in art]. It never really did. The city is known for its musical history—the term “Elvis has left the building” was coined there. Because I think we need that. That’s how I’m able to take this collective group and walk into this dream. NC: I can’t even imagine a high-school reunion. I [am invigorated] by dealing with these really hard issues around race and gun violence. I was collecting objects that speak about nostalgic moments in history. You’re surrounded by information and just visuals. I think you’re right, it’s a great time for people to sit and reflect on—. Art and Law Artist Nick Cave’s Controversial Upstate New York Artwork Has Found a New Home at the Brooklyn Museum. On October 16, 2016, Cave’s largest and most personal installation opened at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams (MASS MoCA). Email. I studied dance and then I studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, then I went to Cranbrook for my master’s. And I remember being terrified. It was very much about that. And now I’m like, “Oh, damn. And it’s really whether or not we can step up to fear. MB: I can relate to that feeling, for sure. The official website for Nick Cave, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Grinderman. Learn more about our use of cookies: cookie policy, Exclusive interviews and the latest on fashion, music, culture and art, An Interview with Kiddy Smile: Resistance Movement. It’s a new art initiative. NC: Yeah. And I had to pack up and move on. I’m not sure of the exact date. And I’m in the studio… you know, Trayvon, it goes on and on. What happens when textiles meet modern dance all dressed up in a "Sound Suit?" Shreveport is a border town at the crossroads of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. His mother, Sharon, raised him and his seven brothers. Krystian von Speidel sits down with artist Nick Cave to talk about his incredible Soundsuits and his concurrent exhibits at Jack Shainman and Mary Boone Galleries. These were the two critical discourses that influenced and brought my work to life. You find that you’re not alone, going through this experience. Creating this space, this cavity that allows us to come in and think about… I start to think about ways of letting go without being harmful. Lives matter, not just Black lives. NC: Oh, yeah. NC: But I don’t think I really thought about where it could lead untilI was in college. NC: Well, it needs the support of others in order for them to take action, or a project to come to life—. MB: Yeah. “It’s amazing how something so profound can literally shift your direction of thinking and making,” he says.He made a bodysuit that covered the wearer head to toe in sticks and twigs. NC: Yeah. It becomes a safe haven for hard conversations. It’s not a very accessible venue, necessarily. Cave was sitting in a park, feeling vulnerable and cast aside, when he saw a discarded twig on the ground. MB: I read somewhere that you started making these Soundsuits as a way of creating your own armor, a form of protection. But, again, it’s one of these projects, like with every other project within the past five years, where I can only speculate, I can only say, “Hopefully it feels like this or that.” But I don’t know because I will be walking into it just as you will be. NC: Well, that’s the whole idea. The title comes from the phrases “innocent until proven guilty” or “guilty until proven innocent.” Both are linked to police brutality in America. I find that I work in this very particular way, where I’m interested in making objects and then bringing them to a performance platform. And so, through these horrific tragedies that we face daily, it was my next mission, my task, to deliver that project. Internally, we all know what we need to do. Experience the largest presentation of work by Chicago-based artist Nick Cave, featuring thirty-five of his Soundsuits—multi-layered, mixed-media sculptures named for the sounds made when the “suits” are worn. I was in the studio, thinking, “What the hell is going on?” All of these events made me wonder whether there is racism in heaven, and that really was the beginning of the show. MB: I wish I could. Although they pass through me, I don’t feel connected to them, in a certain sense. Artist Nick Cave spent several days installing his solo exhibition at the ICA Boston in February. It’s like with the magazine, how do you create this magazine so that it has a purpose? But it’s just me trying to work through it and trying to bring understanding to why. View Nick Cave’s 55 artworks on artnet. The buoyant appearance of the Soundsuits, composed of kitschy materials such as beads and plastic tchotchkes, belies their serious connotations. So that’s how MASS MoCA came about. I’m responding to it by designing my own pathway and creating my own lifestyle. Cave and I talked on the phone about his exhibition, Until, and how his work will stimulate questions about equality in America. NC: It opens in November, I think. It’s scary, it’s frightening, it’s dark, yet there’s something that is other about it. NC: Because I would be so attracted to so many aspects of the arts that… Things need time to mature and to develop, for you to understand how they are to exist and function in the world. NC: I sit in silence every day. The American artist Nick Cave made his first soundsuit following the 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers. NC: Yeah, that was part of it, and also, I was raised in a single-parent family. I could live in New York, but oh my God, if I was there, I don’t know whether I would be as clear as I am today. It was really very strange. I graduated from high school in 2009, but it was a very homophobic environment and it was very… That still lingers, to the point where I’m a very different person if I go back now. Pass through this rite of passage to back at midnight connotations of the pros and cons ’. 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