April 6 - July 28, 2019
Opening Reception: April 5, 5:30 - 7:00 PM
Eldredge, Spratlen, and Armstrong Galleries
Nick Cave is a multi-disciplinary artist working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound, and performance. He is well known for the Soundsuits series, sculptural forms based on the scale of his body.
The idea for the suits were formed as a response to race-based violence. After the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles in March 1991, and the riots and violence that followed, Cave felt depressed and concerned. He says “I remember thinking that my identity is really only protected in the privacy of my own home. That the moment I leave this space, I could be just another profile. Then I was thinking about myself as a black male, and that on top of art, on what I’m trying to be as an artist, what does that mean?” Soon after, he made his first “suit” with sown sticks gathered in Millennium Park in Chicago. Stitched together, the sticks became an armor for his body, allowing for anonymity and protection. The suits are intended to camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender, and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgement. Cave has continued to investigate the power of these sculptural garments since that initial work and continues to create new Soundsuits, even as he has moved on to other larger, more immersive installation projects.
This exhibition will feature a focused selection of Soundsuits, pulled from both private collections and the artist, courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, as well as an example from the Tondo series, and the video Drive-By. Funding for this exhibition is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Missouri Arts Council, a State Agency.
Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2009, mixed media including sisal, knitted fabric, metal armature, plastic, and electrical tape, 103 x 38 x 26 inches. © Nick Cave. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.