AO On Site – New York: Nick Cave 'For Now' at Mary Boone through October 22, 2011

September 25th, 2011


All photos Art Observed by Guillaume Vandame

A festive atmosphere opening night at Mary Boone surrounded visitors while they studied Chicago artist Nick Cave‘s parade of bright and exotic soundsuits. Unique hybrid costumes made from a variety of materials, the works combine antique carpets, fabrics, beads, and everyday kitsch objects. Similar to naming the works Untitled, each piece is called a ‘soundsuit;’ various objects, all under the same title. The artist said of his style, “The world is my inventory,” drawing on roots in Trinidad and Haiti, and gathering resources that are no longer used in order to create something new.


Detail of Soundsuit

More text and images after the jump…


Nick Cave

When asked if his work is political, Cave immediately quipped, “Oh totally,” and went on to say, “It depends on how you’re reading it. For example, this piece here is all a rug; something that you walk on, moving towards this vertical, upright position, which you can then change its dynamic, the theme of being stepped on. And that can be translated into how someone feels.” Elaborating on his process, Cave said, “I find a lot of materials at flea markets, especially in New York City. I’m not looking for anything, I just go and I remain open. What really drives me to collect a number of items is really based on impulse. I think objects have power.”

Cave’s show is surprising and ironic, especially considering its timing at the beginning of New York Fashion Week.  Something of a paradox, Cave takes found objects and textiles, and transforms them into new yet timeless works of art—a sharp contrast to the fresh clothes off the runway. Himself a former fashion designer, the show’s  crowd included Parker Posey and Cheryl Pope, and designers Kristina Sparks and Chris Benz, some of which taking a break from preparing their own fashion shows this week.

Nick Cave was born in 1959 in Missouri and studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, North Texas State University, and has an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Cave lives and works in Chicago and has had recent solo shows at the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. Cave will be featured in the forthcoming group show RE: Chicago, at the DePaul University Art Museum in Chicago, and has solo shows in 2012 at the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Tri Postal in Lille, France.

The gallery is located at 541 West 24th Street and the exhibition is on view through October 22, 2011.


Fashion designer Chris Benz

- G. Vandame

Related Links:

Mary Boone [Exhibition Site]
Gospel According to Nick Cave [New York Observer]
Nick Cave, Profile [New York Times]
Nick Cave to Return to Fashion? [WWD]

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Caton, Michael