October 22, 2011

Nick Cave's Soundsuits

(at Mary Boone)

Nick Cave, the sculptor and Alvin-Ailey trained dancer, is one of my favorite artists. I first saw his work in Pittsburgh in 2006 at the Mattress Factory. The space was low-lit and full of artifacts relating to masculinity and the history of slavery. It was very quiet and thoughtful, but articulate and insistent. This piece immediately placed him among my favorites, as I kept returning to this room and later, kept thinking about the feeling in the space. Later, I discovered the Soundsuits and I must admit, these I was slower to appreciate. I saw them at Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea in 2009, and loved the way they took up space and the use of materials in a fiber tradition, but had trouble imagining the pieces in motion. This fall, he had a two-part show at Jack Shainman (Ever After) and Mary Boone Gallery (For Now). There were four rooms of Soundsuits and one of video, which I now believe should always accompany his work.  Seeing the pieces in motion, over time with repetition and rhythm, brought it all together for me.

(at Jack Shainman)
I took photos of both exhibitions, but as my camera is broken, only used an ipod, which is really a shame as I wanted to capture the detail better. Each button was sewn on in such a purposeful manner that even the underside of the cloth (here fulled wool) is beautiful. The button pieces at Jack Shainman used mostly a poly-looking jacquard as basecloth. 

(at Jack Shainman)

I loved the draping on these pieces, as well as the white and yellow shift below.

(at Jack Shainman)
At Mary Boone, all the pieces were on a raised oval pedestal, showing an entire selection of Soundsuits. I love the found object ones and the sequin appliques, but am partial to the stick/basket/drapey fur. I really think you should check out one of his videos on Mary Boone's site.

(and the feet!)

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