Chicago-based artist Nick Cave (b. 1959) produces work in a wide range of mediums, including sculpture, installation, video, and performance. His creations, bursting with color and texture, are optical delights that can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages and backgrounds. A deeper look reveals that they speak to issues surrounding identity and social justice, specifically race, gun violence, and civic responsibility. His trademark human-shaped sculptures—called soundsuits because of the noise made when they move—began as a response to the beating of Rodney King by policemen in Los Angeles more than twenty-five years ago. As an African American man, Cave felt particularly vulnerable after the incident so he formed a type of armor that protected him from profiling by concealing race, gender, and class
Along with broadcasting an increasingly urgent call for equity, Cave wants his art to spark viewers’ imaginations and aspirations. This exhibition’s title, Feat., refers to the exceedingly hard work that goes into attaining success (it takes, for example, roughly seven hours to hand-sew just one square foot of a button soundsuit). It also plays on how talent is often listed in promotional materials—an appropriate nod to Music City and its creative community. Through this immersive installation, Cave hopes to provide a transformative place where your narrative can be featured and your dreams can soar.
Nick Cave was born in Fulton, Missouri, in 1959. He received a BFA from the Art Institute of Kansas City and an MFA in fiber arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art, outside of Detroit. Cave’s work has been featured in monographic exhibitions around the globe, at venues such as the Cranbrook Art Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and is housed in the permanent collections of many major institutions, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the Museum of Modern Art. Cave has received several prestigious awards, among them the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, the Artadia Award, the Joyce Award, and multiple Creative Capital Grants. He has lived and worked in Chicago since 1990 and is the Stephanie and Bill Sick Professor of Fashion, Body, and Garment at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York.
Nick Cave: Feat. was organized by the Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN. Its presentation in Akron is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, Akron Reimagining the Civic Commons and The Lehner Family Foundation.