The Mississippi Museum of Art will present Nick Cave: Feat., an exhibition of 17 works examining the artist’s socially engaged practice. On view October 26 through February 16, the survey of Nick Cave’s (b. 1959) work includes sculpture, video, and installations providing visitors with a range of immersive interactions with color and sound that bring to light urgent issues of our times.
“By exploring themes of identity, humanity, equity, and social justice, Cave prompts viewers to consider their own civic responsibilities, imaginations, and aspirations, through a creative lens. His goal is to both inspire and empower, inviting people to look at one another without judgment,” said Museum Director Betsy Bradley.
Among the works featured are 10 of his signature “soundsuits”—a series of anthropomorphic sculptures made from of a variety of repurposed everyday objects and materials that can be worn or displayed. They are based on the scale of his body. The soundsuits were originally created by Cave as a response to the 1991 beating of Rodney King, an African American man, by Los Angeles policemen. The horrific event was caught on camera and widely broadcasted on news programs.
Cave conceived the suit as a protective covering against police brutality, preventing the wearer from being profiled by race, gender, or socio-economic standing.
Today, the exuberantly colored and textured soundsuits incorporate fabric, beads, buttons, toys, twigs, and scavenged items. They are part of Cave’s ongoing series that has become a display of resistance to police profiling and gun violence across the country.
The sculptures have been worn by the artist in his performative works, incorporating choreography and drawing on traditional, ceremonial, and folkloric attire from around the world.
Cave’s installations are immersive experiences designed so viewers can pause and enjoy a contemplative moment. Button Walls (2013) are made with a myriad of sparkling buttons affixed to dark colored material to suggest a star-filled night sky.
Blot (2012) is a video projection of a figure wearing a black raffia soundsuit in constant motion against a white backdrop. The large-scale installation Architectural Forest (2011) comprises thousands of colored beads and strands of bamboo hung from the ceiling suggesting a hallucinatory landscape.
An exhibition highlight is a set of sculptures mounted on the walls made up of beads, ceramic birds, metal flowers, decorative objects, and castoffs found in thrift stores and flea markets. These works convey the importance of preserving and sharing memories, an important element of Cave’s work.
The exhibition was organized by the Frist Art Museum. This is a ticketed exhibition. For more information, call 601-960-1515.