nick cave’s phantasmagoric technicolor soundsuits

March 12, 2010

Hey Afro-Punks, have you heard that Nick Cave’s PHantasmagoric Technicolor Soundsuits are on display at UCLA’s Flower Museum until May 30 2010?! Now we know you might be thinking of an Aussie with the single tightest pair of pants ever afforded to someone over 40. However we are actually referring to a Chicago based African-American artist, dancer, fabric manipulator, fashion’ist’ Nick Cave.

Cave claims to have gotten his earliest inspiration from his mother who encouraged him at a young age on work such as birthday card drawings, (talk some Motherly TLC) . Cave acquired a number of degrees, trained with an Alvin Ailey Dance program in Kentucky and NY, and headed the fashion dept at the Art Institute Chicago.

(Photos by James Prinz, Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery)

He is known for his pieces called sound suits which combine materials both found and scavenged into structural costumes (everything is sewn – mostly by hand) that make a variety of different sounds. The work is at once performative, visually stimulating, and audibly delectable. The suits seem to be sewn with the ability to not only create sound but to carefully anticipate movement (see how easily the dancers move in them in the videos below). We think they must be the artistic definition of synesthesia (insert –

Cave claims to have begun these in the nineties, when after the Rodney King incident, he began to call into question his identity as a black man. He felt the use of the found materials, the cast offs (things like twigs – as he mentions in the NY Times article) had a certain beauty. In making and putting on the sound suits the dancer is androgynous, androracial, and as Cave puts it ‘Shamanistic’.

Cave is making plans to put together a 90 sound suit dance tour and taking it internationally. His art can currently be seen at the UCLA fowler gallery, on on the internets for those of us not on the west coast.

We propose that the Nick Caves get together and make something utterly grand.

Nick Cave’s Soundsuits
Price: Free
When: Jan 10 – May 30
Wednesdays (noon–5pm)
Thursdays (noon–8pm)
Fridays–Sundays (noon–5pm)
Where: Fowler Museum, UCLA, Westwood Plz & Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
Phone: 310.825.4361

For more info about the artist – Flavorwire, The New York Times

Original post can be found here