Visual Arts

Arty Girl: Nick Cave at SMoCA

No, not "Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds" Nick Cave. I'm talking about "Nick Cave soundsuits" Nick Cave - who is equally fascinating, as far as I'm concerned.

Now, I know I'm not the only one at New Times writing about this guy. But I can't resist the urge to's just too cool.

"Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth" opens tomorrow and features his series of soundsuits. As you can see from the image above, these things are highly inventive and totally irresistible.

Cave is a Chicago-based artist with a background in dance and textiles. He teaches at the Art Institute of Chicago in the Fiber Arts Program and is most famous for his soundsuits.

Yeah, I know...what the heck is that?

Cave creates these impossibly intricate and dramatic body suits from a wide range of materials. Fabrics, beads, sequins, bottle caps, twigs, straw and hair are just a few of the bits and pieces he scavenges to weave these works. They are wonderfully monstrous with layers and layers of materials that create an entire body of it's own. Then, once the suit is put on a human body, a new creature emerges - one that wiggles and writhes to make an onslaught of sound produced by the shifting and scraping of materials.

It's all about transformation and disguise. Cave aims to find ways for the wearers to lose themselves. They get to assume a new identity and experience the liberation and limitations of this foreign "self".

Check out some of the youtube videos on SMoCA's website and head to the show that opens tomorrow at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second St., 480-874-4666.

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Lilia Menconi
Contact: Lilia Menconi