Nick Cave moves elegantly, like a dancer or maybe a panther; when he's in a room filled with his work, you can feel the reciprocal magic of a man communing with his own creations. Famous for his Soundsuits -- fanciful sound-making costumes for dancers, on a variety of themes -- Cave is not only evolving in that medium, he's also exploring new directions in three-dimensional assemblage and installation work.
See also: - Nick Cave: Sojourn opens at the Denver Art Museum - Fifteen citizen dancers selected to perform in artist Nick Cave's Soundsuits at the DAM - Spun spins a museum-wide web of textile-related exhibits at the Denver Art Museum
Forty brand-new works in both categories, most made expressly for this show, adorn Nick Cave: Sojourn, which opens Sunday, June 9, at the Denver Art Museum, and it's a stunner from one end to the other.
The button room, Soundsuits and button walls.
Much like last year's Yves Saint Laurent blockbuster, Sojourn unfolds from room to room in big vistas, and you'll want to spend some time with each setting, enjoying the view from afar and right up close, where the dense details -- fur, buttons, china birds, knitted pot holders and layer upon layer of found objects and flea-market treasures -- are mind-blowing. Cave works with eight skilled assistants who can get right down to the task without additional training, but it's still astonishing to imagine how labor-intensive each piece must be.
Keep reading for a sneak peek at how it all turned out, with Cave's commentary.
Nick Cave, Button Soundsuit.
"Usually, an object promotes the beginning of an idea for me. This is a kind of clinical stripping down, getting to core work -- what I think about: The button as a material, application, craft, embellishment, adornment. And then, there's craft, and how that solidifies the fundamental ideas of construction and commitment to quality."
Nick Cave, "Constellation."
"Constellation is about me and my seven siblings, and thinking about family and being on the farm, looking up at the sky at night."
Nick Cave, Soundsuit.
Nick Cave, Soundsuit.
"They are like a masquerade, hiding all race, gender and class, so you can look at them without judgment. This is what my head feels like most of the time."
"These works are about a kind of closure from my departure from making Soundsuits. It's about opening up a new vocabulary. There's fashion, the opulence of life and an extreme impulse for more and more and more of the mystical and magical."
To get a sense of what the suits look like in action, there's even an interactive video room.
"Sojourn," says Cave, "refers to a temporary stay somewhere, just as this exhibition will be here only for a period of time, providing a window into my world." Catch it while you can.
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