Back to Chicago, in the blog, for a fabulous blast of unexpected Contemporary Art. The Museum of Contemporary Art was showing a major retrospective of Nick Cave an artist completely unknown to me.
Nick Cave is an American sculptor, dancer, performance artist, and professor. He is best known for his Soundsuit series: wearable assemblage fabric sculptures that are bright, whimsical, and other-worldly, often made with found objects.
Born: February 4, 1959 (age 63 years), Fulton, Missouri, United States
His Soundsuits are phenomenal. A garment that disguises everything about a person. Wearing one makes a person larger than life and yet invisible, culturally and ethnically unreadable and genderless.
I need to read loads more about this artist, but a hand luggage holiday does not permit buying the weighty tome that I need to fully digest his work.
The works that really connected with me were his assemblages of domestic objects. My responses were not as complex as his motivations but that is often the point of Contemporary Art. It is made to make you think. I know that once I get home and can give this artist plenty of reading time my reactions will be different but for now I thought I would share my thoughts.
I am not an ornament person, my father was not an ornament person, in consequence my mum chose to moderate her ornament ownership. When they died I kept one ornament as a memento mori. My dad, an entirely liberal person with no special requirements of life could not visit over ornamented homes, they set off something in him which he couldn’t tolerate. I am the same, but living a generation later the problem is not as acute. Nick Cave is the same age as me and creates assemblages of the over ornamentation of his parents generation. My immediate reaction was an almost physical dislike and yet they are things of unsettling beauty.
As an aside one of my recurring dreams is in an ornament shop. Lladro brand. In the dream, I break up everything to virtual powder and feel jolly proud of myself once the ornaments are rendered down. A similar feeling of discomfort settled on me during parts of this exhibition.
Caves other work that hit a nerve with me was his Spinner Forest. Garden Spinners are another personal dislike. Three videos show this form of ornamentation in such vast numbers and out of context. Another form of a nightmare dreamscape.
Beyond his nerve jangling, concsience pricking art there are also some quieter pieces. Still hugely thought provoking.
And that, until I am better read about Nick Cave,is that. Knowing that once I have read deeply I will wish I could walk back and enjoy the whole thing more deeply and with greater understanding.