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Posted on: July 1, 2019

Springfield Art Museum Acquires Nick Cave Soundsuit

Nick Cave "Soundsuit" with patrons in the Eldredge Gallery


Springfield, MO. (July 1, 2019) – The Springfield Art Museum is pleased to announce the acquisition of Nick Cave’s Soundsuit (2009), currently on display in Nick Cave through July 28. Cave is perhaps one of the most famous contemporary artists from Missouri and has not only exhibited nationally and internationally but has work in public and private collections worldwide.

The Soundsuits are Cave’s most well-known body of work to date. The Soundsuits 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, even as he has moved on to other larger, more immersive installation projects.

There are several thematic groups of Soundsuits including: buttons, sticks/twigs, toys, sequins, and hair. This work hails from a smaller group utilizing knitted sock monkeys and is relatively unique amongst the series. This Soundsuit provides a strong complement to the Museum’s extensive collection of textiles – both historic and contemporary – in terms of its use of fabrics, stuffed animals, and other soft materials that reflect ideas of comfort that cocoon and protect the body. Additionally, this acquisition supports the Museum’s goal of acquiring works by artists who originate or work in the Midwest.

Museum Director Nick Nelson notes, “When I think of Missouri artists who document what it means to be living in this country at a particular moment in time, I think of George Caleb Bingham in the 19th century, Thomas Hart Benton in the 20th century, and Nick Cave in the 21st century, so it was very important for the Museum to add Nick Cave to our permanent collection.”

When Nick Cave closes, the sculptural work will rotate into the Museum’s permanent collection exhibition, Creating an American Identity. This acquisition marks the first use of insurance settlement funds, restricted solely to art acquisitions, from Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup I collection of ten serigraphs, originally a gift of Ronald K., Robert C., and Larry H. Greenberg. 

Nick Cave runs through July 28, 2019 at the Springfield Art Museum, located at 1111 East Brookside Drive. Admission is always free. Donations are gratefully accepted.


The Springfield Art Museum is Springfield, Missouri’s oldest cultural institution, founded in 1928. A department of the City of Springfield, the Museum invites you to connect with the world, your community, and yourself through active engagement with art objects. For more information, please visit or contact Joshua Best, Development and Marketing Coordinator at (417) 874-2859 or

Image credit: Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2009, Mixed media including sisal, knitted fabric, metal armature, plastic, electrical tape, 103 x 38 x 26 inches. Collection of the Springfield Art Museum. Gift by exchange of Ronald K., Robert C., and Larry H. Greenberg © Nick Cave.

Nick Cave
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