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Fowler Museum at UCLA

Nick Cave "Soundsuits"

Nick Cave "Soundsuits"

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From: Fowler Museum at UCLA
Limited Edition: 35
Exhibition: Nick Cave: Meet Me At The Center Of The Earth
Material: Printed 2-ply vinyl
Dimensions: 35" x 96" (88cm x 243cm)

Hanging Hardware Included


This exhibition featured 35 fantastic Soundsuits created by Chicago multi-media artist, Nick Cave. So called for the sound they make when the wearer moves, the Soundsuits are painstakingly stitched from a plethora of found items such as dyed human hair, buttons, toys, and doilies, which are re-contextualized to explore issues of political identity, ritual, myth, and change. His first Soundsuit, made entirely from three inch twigs wired to an undergarment, was inspired by the civil unrest following the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles in 1992. He discovered after he created the piece that it could be worn, and that the upright posture required to bear such weight awakened his passion for dance as an Alvin Ailey-trained dancer.

His suits represent a confluence of art, dance, and music, while connecting to tribal cultures known for extravagant ornamentation, costuming, and masquerading. In hopes that his suits will transform people into finding common ground, Cave placed a globe sculpture in the center of the main gallery of the exhibition, which he named Meet Me at the Center of the Earth.

Some Soundsuits, like those made of hair, make a whispery sound; the twig suit makes a rustling sound; while others, like the “toy” suit featured on the banner used by the Fowler to promote the exhibition, make a raucous clamor. Starting with a bodysuit of crocheted hot pads, a sculptural arrangement of vintage metal toys and wooden tops sprout from the upper body and head. Put to dance, this suit makes for a feast of sound and sight.

The front side of the banner is a close up of the toys and tops from the suits upper section. “Fowler Museum at UCLA” appears at the bottom in blue and black letters. The back of the banner shows a partial view of a man dancing in the suit with colorful spinning tops in the foreground. “Nick Cave” appears in large lime green letters (sideways vertical) from bottom to top, along with the exhibition’s dates.


This banner was displayed around the Los Angeles area between January 10 and May 30, 2010. Organized by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, the exhibition opened there in 2009, traveled to the Fowler Museum at UCLA, and continued on a national tour.

About the Artist

Learn more about Nick Cave

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