Nick Cave: Until

Date: October 16, 2016 - August 31, 2017


Phone: 4136622111
Website (click here)
Mass MoCA
1040 Mass MoCA Way
North Adams, MA 01247

Building 5

If you think you know Nick Cave, think again. The artist known for his wearable sculptures called Soundsuits turns expectations inside out at MASS MoCA in a massive immersive installation opening October 16, 2016; not a single Soundsuit will be found in this exhibition. Instead, Cave uses MASS MoCA’s signature football field-sized space to create his largest installation to date, made up of thousands of found objects and millions of beads, which will make viewers feel as if they have entered a rich sensory tapestry, like stepping directly inside the belly of one of his iconic Soundsuits.

The exhibition will also be used as an event-driven space. Conceived as a one-year concatenation of performances, community events, and art, Until incorporates special appearances by internationally known dancers, singer-songwriters, pop artists, poets, and composers, together with panel discussions, community forums, and other forms of creative public debate and engagement.

Often seen as celebrations of movement and material, the first Soundsuit, made out of twigs, was a direct response to the Rodney King beating, a visual image about social justice that was both brutal and empowering. Just as the violence around the Rodney King beating was the impetus to Cave’s early work, the death of men such as Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown drive his new imagery. For Cave’s MASS MoCA installation, Until — a double play on the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” or in this case “guilty until proven innocent” — Cave addresses issues of gun violence, gun control policy, race relations, and gender politics in America today.

Until begins with a dense sculptural field of metallic lawn ornaments leading to a crystal cloud topped by a private garden populated with birds, flowers, and black-face lawn jockeys, finally coming to rest before a cliff wall constructed of millions of plastic pony beads. This is an active space where alluring kinetics and a sumptuous materiality give way to stark images of guns, bullets, and targets, positioning us all as culpable, vulnerable, and potentially under attack. The aim of this is pointed, questioning us to spark discussion about important issues in a space that is at once dazzling, provocative, and — ultimately — overwhelmingly optimistic. Cave believes in humanity, celebrating possibility while also creating a forum for critical discussion.

Cave has come to see himself as a messenger, endeavoring to coalesce communities, discuss important issues, and ultimately heal through art. “I view this work as a theater set, or an elaborate community forum, as much as a work of sculpture,” he notes.

This is Nick Cave from the inside out, on a grand theatrical scale.

Go back

Join The Email List!

Signup for valuable offers and notifications about The Mohawk Trail and download your free Guidebook!