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  • December 31, 1969 | 7:00 PM
    December 31, 1969
    7:00 PM

Nick Cave

Born in Jefferson City, MO, 1959
Lives and works in Chicago, IL

Day 24: Nick Cave

While Nick Cave was finishing up his graduate degree at Kansas City Art Institute, he was also studying dance through an Alvin Ailey program in both Kansas City and in New York. Today, the performance artist, fabric sculptor, and dancer is best known for his elaborate, transformative “soundsuits.” When worn, these otherworldly garments give the wearer shaman-like characteristics as they completely overwhelm conventional human physiology. Cave’s constructs these works from unlikely found material such as twigs, bottle caps, and wires. These soundsuits enable Cave to bring about an interactive aspect to his work; that is, the garments produce sound when dancers perform in them. 

Watch as Cave's soundsuits come alive during a performance in Seattle, WA:


Video by Linda Powell



1989 M.F.A., Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
1986 North Texas State University, Denton, TX (one year of coursework)
1982 B.F.A., Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2011 Nick Cave: For Now, Mary Boone Gallery in collaboration with Jack Shainman Gallery, New York (forthcoming)
Nick Cave: Ever-After, Jack Shainman Gallery in collaboration with Mary Boone Gallery, New York, September 9–October 8, 2011 (forthcoming)
2010 Nick Cave,Studio La Città, Verona, Italy
Lost-and-Found: Nick Cave, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Kansas
Nick Cave: Recent Soundsuits, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Alter-Skins, Fosdick-Nelson Gallery, Alfred University, Alfred, NY
2007 Nick Cave: Soundsuits, Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, Winter Park, FL
Second Skins: Sculptural Soundsuits and Tondos, Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art,
Jacksonville, FL [cat.]
2006 Nick Cave: Soundsuits, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL [cat.]
Soundsuits, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY
2005 Soundsuits, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Pittsburgh, PA
2004 Soundsuits, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT [cat.]

Selected Group Exhibitions

2011 Pandora’s Box: Joseph Cornell Unlocks the MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois, Curated by Michael Darling.
Delphine Balley, Nick Cave, Angelika Markul, Eddie Martinez, Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison, Pierre Schwerzmann, Suzanne Tarasieve Paris, France
2010 The Global Africa Project, Museum of Art and Design, New York. Curated by Lowery Sims and Leslie King-Hammond. (Catalogue)
Now What?, Norton Museum, Miami, Florida
The Figure: Contemporary Works from the Collection, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, Rhode Island
Disidentification, Goteborgs Konsthalle, Sweden
Hand + Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver.
Call and Response: Africa to America / The Art of Nick Cave and Phyllis Galembo, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, South Carolina
The Art of Fashion: Installing Allusions, Museum Boymans Van Beuningen, Rotterdamn, The Netherlands
2009 Beyond Appearances, Lehman College Art Gallery, CUNY, Bronx, New York, Curated by Susan Hoeltzel and Patricia Cazorla.
Undercover: Performing and Transforming Black Female Identities, Spelman College Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, Curated by Andrea Barnwell Brownlee and Karen Comer Lowe.
Über-Portrait, Bellevue Museum, Bellevue, Washington. Curated by Stafano Catalani.
Dress Codes: Clothing as Metaphor in Contemporary Art, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York
Giving Face: Portraits for a New Generation, Nicholas Robinson Gallery, New York, New York, Curated by Stephen Heighton
Re-AdDRESSing Identities: Clothing as Sculpture, Katonah Art Museum, New York. Traveled to: SCAD, Atlanta, Georgia
2008 Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, Montana. Traveled to: Art Gallery, University of Montana Western; Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Great Falls, Montana; MonDak Heritage Center, Sydney, Australia; Yellowstone Art Museum. Curated by Katie Knight.
Not Just Another Pretty Face, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, Illinois (Catalogue)
Ahh, Decadence!, Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute, Chicago. Curated by Lisa Wainright.
Disguise: The Art of Attracting and Deflecting Attention, Michael Stevenson Contemporary Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa. Curated by Joost Bosland. (Catalogue)
Speaking Volumes: Transforming Hate, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT
Working History: African-American Art and Objects, Cooley Gallery at Reed College, Pittsburg, PA
2007 MASK, James Cohan Gallery, New York, NY [cat.]
Taking Possesion, Gallery I, II & III at University of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR [cat.]
2006 Black alphabet - conTEXTS of contemporary african-american art, Zacheta National Gallery of Art,
Warsaw, Poland [cat.]
Black Panther Rank and File, YBCA Galleries at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; traveled to Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC; Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Crafty, Sandra and David Bakalar Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA
Unholy Alliance: art + fashion meet again, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, Canada

Selected Collections

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS
Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
The RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI

30 Americans is organized by the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. The presenting sponsor at the Corcoran Gallery of Art is Altria Group.

Additional support has been provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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