This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

7Oct/11

NICK CAVE: EVER-AFTER / FOR NOW

Nick Cave’s Soundsuits are on display at Jack Shainman and Mary Boone in Chelsea (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Ever-After: Through October 8, Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th St.
For Now: Through October 22, Mary Boone Gallery, 541 West 24th St.
www.nickcaveart.com
nick cave slideshow

If you wander into the Jack Shainman Gallery or Mary Boone over the next few days, you might think you’ve stepped into exhibits of unusual creatures from Star Trek, Star Wars, or even Lost in Space. But in fact you’ve entered the wild world of Missouri-born artist Nick Cave, who has been creating what he calls “Soundsuits” out of found material and fabric for more than ten years. Through this Saturday at Jack Shainman, “Ever-After” features groups of Soundsuits displayed like a fashion show at the Met, from the row of standing white-haired rabbit-people (“Mating Season”) to a collection of glittery button-covered astronaut-like figures shaped like ship air vents (and one tall one wearing a small shopping wagon) to a trio of connected beings whose heads resemble tubas (“Speak Louder”). In addition, an exhilarating video of bfrightly multicolored characters jumping and dancing to Africah rhythms against a white background is screened continuously in a separate room. A few blocks north, Cave’s “For Now” continues at Mary Boone through October 22, consisting of several dozen Soundsuits gathered on a platform in the center of the vast space, a playful circuslike menagerie of oddball characters in addition to a circular black-and-silver wall piece and a sole Soundsuit in the back office. At both galleries, Cave’s sculptural figures are faceless beings devoid of social, cultural, religious, ethnic, economic, and gender signifiers, allowing visitors to experience them without predefined judgment or biases. Cave himself refers to the work as a “psychedelic, functified freak show that is an accumulation of the decades from the perspective of voodoo woo-loo.” Be sure to marvel at the intricate detail in the many figures and the wide array of items used to create them.

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