Nick Cave Soundsuits invade Cranbrook — and Detroit | Detroit Free Press

Cranbrook Art Museum in the News
Nick Cave

Nick Cave : Here Hear exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum. Photo by PD Rearick.
June 17, 2015

When Nick Cave arrived at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1987, he was the only African American in his class. He felt as out of place on the idyllic suburban campus in Bloomfield Hills as a penguin on the prairie.

Cave escaped as often as he could to Detroit, where he was able to reaffirm his cultural identity within the rich texture of black life in the city, especially the dance and music scenes.

“That was the first time I had to look at myself as a black male, and it was a struggle to find my place,” said the 56-year-old Chicago-based artist. “Detroit allowed Cranbrook to work for me, to find a balance.”

Nearly 30 years later, Cave returns to Cranbrook as an art-world star, best known for his innovative, wearable Soundsuits that connect the dots between sculpture, fashion design, performance art and the politics of race. About 40 of them comprise the core of Cave’s major solo exhibition, “Here Hear,” that opens Saturday at the Cranbrook Art Museum.

But Cave has also never forgotten the strength he drew from Detroit. To repay the debt he insisted that his exhibition be accompanied by a broader presence in the city. The result is a series of artistic collaborations through October — Cave calls them “invasions” — that will bring his Soundsuits, dance-infused performances and more into the marrow of the city. These include Sunday afternoon’s kick-off celebration in the Brightmoor neighborhood in northwest Detroit.

“I want to be a change agent,” Cave said. “We’re working with groups of musicians and dancers. I want to help the collective, to be an instigator. I’m trying to bring the diversity together instead of segregation, boundaries and division.”

When Nick Cave arrived at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1987, he was the only African American in his class. He felt as out of place on the idyllic suburban campus in Bloomfield Hills as a penguin on the prairie.

Cave escaped as often as he could to Detroit, where he was able to reaffirm his cultural identity within the rich texture of black life in the city, especially the dance and music scenes.

“That was the first time I had to look at myself as a black male, and it was a struggle to find my place,” said the 56-year-old Chicago-based artist. “Detroit allowed Cranbrook to work for me, to find a balance.”

 

Source: Detroit Free Press



Posted In: Cranbrook Art Museum in the News, Nick Cave

Media Inquiries:
Julie Fracker
Director of Communications
Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum
248.645.3329
jfracker@cranbrook.edu.

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