A dreamlike dirge accompanied the horses as they filed into a corral hemmed by a crowd of several hundred Detroiters enjoying the balmy breezes coming off the Detroit River.Despite the rather discordant score, the mood was giddy at Milliken State Park Saturday – an authentically warm day in late September can have that effect – as the 60 dancers from Wayne State University and Detroit School of Arts cavorted in horse costumes.
Cranbrook Art Museum Director Greg Wittkopp discusses Nick Cave’s Hear Hear project, with footage of the Heard•Detroit rehearsal and performance.
Can art help invigorate Detroit? Nick Cave, who considers himself a messenger first and artist second, thinks so.Cave, the performance artist best known for his vibrant soundsuits that have been cited for inspiring the collections of designers like Kenzo and reside in the homes of celebrity art collectors like Jay Z and Beyoncé, says the timing was right for “Here Hear,” his current and longest-running solo exhibit at Cranbrook Art Museum in Detroit, which closes Oct. 11.
As part of our #LoveMyCity campaign, we’ve been asking creators and influencers all across America to tell us what makes their towns so special, by using the hashtag #LoveMyCity. Pride, we feel, is something that drives culture, style, and, for us, it’s the lifeblood of a maker and manufacturer. And while Nick Cave isn’t from southeast Michigan — Detroit, the artist says, “gave him his soul” as a performer.It’s a hot day in August; Nick Cave and his creative partner, Bob Faust, have met us at the entrance to the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, MI, to tour Cave’s 7,000-square-foot solo exhibition and performance program, Here Hear. It’s hours before the final performance of Here Hear’s live dance series, Dance Lab, the museum installation is coming to a close October 11th, and Cave is feeling nostalgic.“We feel we’re reintroducing Detroit to Detroit,” says Cave. “Because at these events we’re shocked at the overwhelming support that has been coming out.”
I stood at the entrance of the Dequindre Cut Lafayette Park overpass, a few steps away from the Mies van der Rohe Historic District where I reside. I looked over the small bridge into the Dequindre valley shortly after checking my iPhone for the time. It was 4:01 p.m. on a hot July Sunday in Detroit. A Nick Cave Soundsuit performance was set to take place in Detroit’s Dequindre Cut, a relatively new pathway where the city’s residents can run and jog at leisure.Two figures in Cave’s handmade Soundsuits galloped down one of the entry ramps onto the Dequindre Cut; one in black and one in white, dancing angelically. The materials on the Soundsuit garments were draped effortlessly — like long, and thick strands of hair — as the dancers gracefully gallop up and down in the humid summer air. A live band playing “toy pop” lead by composer Frank Pahl preceded the dancers.
DETROIT — In 1989, while a postgraduate at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Nick Cave developed the first of his Soundsuits, for which he has become world-famous — sculptural bodysuits constructed from a range of found objects, which transform the wearer into a figure both highly visible and completely obscured. The Soundsuit was a means for Cave to process the intense vulnerability he felt as a black man during the Rodney King beating, which took place the same year he graduated with his MFA from Cranbrook, which boasts a lavish and sequestered campus in the affluent and mostly white Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills.
DETROIT GAVE ME THE SOUL. It was a critical part of my education. When I was a graduate student at Cranbrook Academy, I learned so much, but it was in the house music dance community here in 1987–88 where I found myself. During undergrad, I had taken summer classes with Alvin Ailey in New York and I learned to dance. Coming from that training, I then applied it to my work. I’ve always looked at dance as an artwork where you are drawing in 4-D. By the time I moved to Detroit, I adopted a more improvisational approach to movement, one that was structured but responsive to constant transformation. Lately, it has become less about dance and more about movement in my work.
A recent splashy headline in the New York Times style section proclaimed Detroit "the last stop on the L train." The article was one of several lifestyle dispatches the paper has published touting the economically depressed Midwestern city as a destination for young creatives disillusioned by the high rent, cramped spaces and rampant gentrification of New York neighborhoods like Bushwick, Brooklyn. "Here Hear," an exhibition of Chicago-based artist Nick Cave's work at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (through Oct. 11), shares the Times' optimism about Detroit's potential. Known for his vibrant aesthetic combining the disciplines of fashion, craft, performance and fine art, Cave has expanded his practice to include public engagement and performance. For the Cranbrook show, Cave has taken take the city of Detroit as his muse, creating his most ambitious series of programs to date intended to engage citizens. Rather than import change from the outside, Cave's show is offered up as a model for considering artists' responsibility to place.
Chicago-based artist and Cranbrook alum Nick Cave has been appearing around Detroit in his colorful soundsuits as part of his Hear Here exhibition at the Cranbrook Art Museum. The public will have a chance to see Cave's soundsuits in action during a series of live performances that will be held in and around Detroit starting this Saturday.For the performances, Cave has partnered with local dancers and musicians and given each group a "box" of supplies they will use to create a live performance. The dance labs performance schedule is below. You can also catch rehearsals at MOCAD, which are open to the public to view — check the official site for the schedule.
Outdoor art has long flourished in Detroit. There's the most obvious: the Heidelberg Project on the east side and west-side murals in the Grand River Creative Corridor.Now those installations and others -- including free "Here Hear" shows for four months by fabric sculptor and performance artist Nick Cave of Chicago -- draw in-depth attention from Melena Ryzik of The New York Times:Outdoor art has long flourished in Detroit. There's the most obvious: the Heidelberg Project on the east side and west-side murals in the Grand River Creative Corridor.Now those installations and others -- including free "Here Hear" shows for four months by fabric sculptor and performance artist Nick Cave of Chicago -- draw in-depth attention from Melena Ryzik of The New York Times.
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