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Nick Cave, Recent Soundsuits

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Jack Shainman Gallery
513 West 20th Street, 212-645-1701
Chelsea
January 8 - February 7, 2009
Reception: Thursday, January 8, 6 - 8 PM
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Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Recent Soundsuits, Nick Cave’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. A diverse selection of the highly imaginative, mixed-media, wearable sculptures, Soundsuits, for which Cave has become well-known, are on view starting January 8th.

A row of suits of woven hair in vibrant colors, from fluorescent orange and lime green to royal blue, lines one wall in the back gallery. These creatures with their amorphous and undefined bodies are apparitions hovering between a human form and an abstract painting. A U-shaped runway situated opposite these figures features another diverse group of Soundsuits, some with sleeker, formfitting bodysuits comprised of found fabrics and materials including buttons, sequins and beads that are combined and sewn together into intricate patterns and designs. Metal armatures adorned with a range of objects including painted ceramic birds, flowers, brass ornaments, and strands of beads, top the figures and serve as headdresses that activate the sculpture and provide a visual and textural contrast to the soft bodysuit.

Soundsuits, named for the sounds made when the sculptures are worn, are as reminiscent of African and religious ceremonial costumes as they are of haute couture. A multitude of references bring to mind not only disparate cultural traditions but they also highlight Cave’s diverse background and artistic training. Cave studied and danced with Alvin Alley and created his own clothing line which he featured in a shop he opened and ran for ten years. He is as interested in fashion and cultural, ritualistic and ceremonial concepts as he is in politics, a domain that has always been part of his work as demonstrated by acts of collecting and reconfiguring elements and concealing the identity, race, and gender, of those who wear his suits. Rendering them faceless and anonymous the suits help these individuals transcend the political realm in order to enter the realm of dreams and fantasy.

Here Cave also presents a number of new sculptures that break from his traditional form, the Soundsuit. Comprised of recognizable ready-made objects these sculptures are overt political statements in themselves.

A major traveling solo exhibition of Cave’s work will open at Yerba Buena Art Center, San Francisco, in March. Cave’s work is concurrently on view at the Rubell Family Collection as part of the 30 Americans. He has mounted other solo exhibitions, at venues including the Chicago Cultural Center, IL (2006), the Jacksonville Museum of art, FL, the Telfair Museum, Savannah, GA and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, FL (2007), and has participated in numerous group exhibitions including Freestyle Frequency, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2005). Cave has received several prestigious awards including, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008), Artadia Award (2006) the Joyce Award (2006), Creative Capital Grants (2002, 2004 and 2005), and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001). Cave, who studied fiber arts at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, is Associate Professor and Chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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