• Nick Cave: Until at MASS MoCA

    Date posted: October 22, 2016 Author: jolanta
    Nick Cave, Until (detail), 2016 photo by Douglas Mason

    On view beginning October 15, 2016

    Members’ Opening Reception
    Saturday, October 15, 5:30–7pm
    RSVP to 413.664.4481 x8112 or cweber@massmoca.org
    Please join us afterwards for a concert in the Hunter Center with Benjamin Clementine at 8:30pm.

    “A paradisiacal landscape where [black-faced lawn] jockeys appear — made from the crystals that would normally go into chandeliers, on a raised platform accessible via four ladders — is the heart of “Until.” “I had been thinking about gun violence and racism colliding,” Mr. Cave said. “And then I wondered: Is there racism in heaven? That’s how this piece came about.” Read the full profile in The New York Times.

    If you think you know Nick Cave, think again. The artist celebrated for his wearable sculptures called Soundsuits turns expectations inside out at MASS MoCA in a massive immersive installation opening October 16, 2016, where not a single Soundsuit will be found. 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 a performance space. Conceived as a one-year concatenation of community events, music, theater, and art, Until incorporates special appearances by 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 energizing. Just as the violence of 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 new MASS MoCA installation, Until—a double play on the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” or in this case, perhaps, “guilty until proven innocent”—Cave addresses issues of gun violence, gun control policy, and race relations 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 are suddenly punctuated by images of guns, bullets, and targets, positioning us all as culpable, vulnerable, and potentially under attack. The aim of this is pointed, sparking discussion about important issues in a space that is at once dazzling, provocative, and—ultimately—optimistic. Cave believes in humanity, celebrating possibility while also creating a forum for sharp debate and critical discussion.

    “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.

    Nick Cave, Until (detail), 2016
    photo by Douglas Mason

    Courtesy of MASS MoCA

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