news release Akron Art Museum Showcases Artist Nick Cave’s Dazzling Mixed-media Artworks
For Release: January 22, 2019
Akron, Ohio—The Akron Art Museum will present an exhibition of the work of visionary artist Nick Cave, best known for his “soundsuits,” dazzling sculptural costumes that incorporate thousands of everyday items such as buttons, old toys and domestic textiles in a seamless combination of sculpture, dance and fashion. Nick Cave: Feat. offers a fantastic, immersive art environment that features a runway of the artist’s soundsuits set against an otherworldly backdrop of countless shimmering buttons, a life-size video of a figure in a black raffia soundsuit forming a Rorschach-like series of images through movement, and a large-scale installation of brightly colored beads and psychedelic patterned bamboo strands that create a kind of enchanted forest. The exhibition opens on Saturday, February 23 and runs through June 2, 2019.
Cave’s work presents not just a delight to the eyes but a way to explore issues of identity, race, gender, class and sexuality. The artist originally conceived of the soundsuits—so-named because of the noise they make when he moves in them—in the wake of the 1992 Rodney King beating by Los Angeles Police.
Akron Art Museum Chief Curator Ellen Rudolph said, “Every artwork that Nick creates offers exciting discoveries. The way he transforms discarded items into spectacular assemblages is magical—the drama, beauty and deep meaning that he builds into his work gives off an energy all its own.”
Putting on his very first soundsuit, Cave found that it provided a kind of protective armor, camouflaging his race, gender, class and sexuality. The suits, which are aesthetically related to Mardi Gras Indian costumes, African ceremonial attire and Tibetan folk costumes, reflect Cave’s interdisciplinary approach, which incorporates his MFA in fiber arts from Cranbrook Academy and his background as a member of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre. At the heart of the artist’s practice is his belief that art can engender connectivity and compassion.
The word “feat.” in the exhibition title refers to accomplishments, but it is also a reference to the way music or theatre acts are often listed on promotional materials. At the Akron Art Museum, each visitor gets to be featured, with their own story, imagination and dreams. Cave hopes that everyone will see a part of themselves in his work, starting with a mirrored wall at the entrance to the exhibition.
The public will get its first look at Nick Cave: Feat. at a special celebration and members’ preview on Saturday, February 23, 2019 from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. Museum members can explore the exhibition for free with a guided tour or on their own. Admission for nonmembers is $10 and registration is required at akronartmuseum.org.
Nick Cave was born in Fulton, Missouri in 1959. He received a BFA from the Art Institute of Kansas City and an MFA in fiber arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions around the globe and has been collected by the Brooklyn Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Museum of Modern Art, among other museums.
For more information about Nick Cave: Feat. at the Akron Art Museum, visit the museum at akronartmuseum.org. Join the conversation on social media using #FeatAkron and #AkronArtMuseum and follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Nick Cave: Feat. was organized by the Frist Art Museum, Nashville, Tennessee.
Supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Its presentation in Akron is made possible through the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, The Tom and Marilyn Merryweather Fund, Akron Reimagining the Civic Commons, and The Lehner Family Foundation. Additional support provided by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Kanfer, the Akron Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Hilton Garden Inn - Akron. Media sponsorship provided by Western Reserve PBS.