The D.C. Docent

From Blake Gopnik’s Daily Pic: “A recent ‘Soundsuit’ by Chicago artist Nick Cave…There are two things to know about Cave and his wildly eccentric one-piece outfits. First, all them, whether covered in old buttons or human hair or found rugs,  are sized to fit Cave.  Second, he’s black and gay. The first fact tells us that his objects aren’t randomly wacky costumes but are about letting a particular person change his look and form. The second reminds us that that person comes at the tail end of a history of oppression that could make who someone was, and what her or she looked like, into an issue of pressing concern – literally into a matter of life and death. When you imagine Cave putting on one of the peculiar white rabbit suits on show in dealer Jack Shainman’s half of the twinned exhibitions, it means something different than it would if a white man put it on. Those furry suits let Cave try on whiteness, but they also speak to the hideous old stereotype of the black man as more animal than other human beings. Imagine Cave putting on the twig-covered outfit in dealer Mary Boone’s part of the project, and you immediately call to mind the ritual costumes worn in some African masquerades.  You also have to recognize the yawning gap between such costumes and the ones by Cave now on show in New York. Cave’s suits express a desire for a culture more freewheeling and accepting than the one we’re stuck with – they couldn’t be more jubilantly peculiar. But they also consign such a desire to the safe little world of strange contemporary art.”
You can check out several of Cave’s soundsuits at The Corcoran in the 30 Americans exhibit (through 2012).

From Blake Gopnik’s Daily Pic: “A recent ‘Soundsuit’ by Chicago artist Nick Cave…There are two things to know about Cave and his wildly eccentric one-piece outfits. First, all them, whether covered in old buttons or human hair or found rugs,  are sized to fit Cave.  Second, he’s black and gay. The first fact tells us that his objects aren’t randomly wacky costumes but are about letting a particular person change his look and form. The second reminds us that that person comes at the tail end of a history of oppression that could make who someone was, and what her or she looked like, into an issue of pressing concern – literally into a matter of life and death. When you imagine Cave putting on one of the peculiar white rabbit suits on show in dealer Jack Shainman’s half of the twinned exhibitions, it means something different than it would if a white man put it on. Those furry suits let Cave try on whiteness, but they also speak to the hideous old stereotype of the black man as more animal than other human beings. Imagine Cave putting on the twig-covered outfit in dealer Mary Boone’s part of the project, and you immediately call to mind the ritual costumes worn in some African masquerades.  You also have to recognize the yawning gap between such costumes and the ones by Cave now on show in New York. Cave’s suits express a desire for a culture more freewheeling and accepting than the one we’re stuck with – they couldn’t be more jubilantly peculiar. But they also consign such a desire to the safe little world of strange contemporary art.”

You can check out several of Cave’s soundsuits at The Corcoran in the 30 Americans exhibit (through 2012).