Tuesday, October 4, 2011

POST: Nick Cave / Vogue.it / September 22, 2011

"I'm interested in designers who cross over into exhibitions and museums. It's not that they're creating collections, but they're creating installations."

The Black Blog: Nick Cave
Text by Kenya Luna
Published 09/22/11 by Italian Vogue (Vogue.it)

It’s more than a little serendipitous that Nick Cave’s hotly anticipated double show at the marquee galleries Mary Boone and Jack Shainman would coincide with the New York ready-to-wear shows. After all, art and fashion have long intertwined in his work, much like what is happening in Chelsea (home to many of New York’s galleries and catwalks) this week. "It’s interesting, because all of these fashion shows are taking place in these empty gallery spaces nearby. So there is this cross-section happening that is really interesting to me," he says. We discuss.

The double show seems to be a popular phenomenon right now. Both Kara Walker and The Chapman Brothers recently had them in New York and London respectively. Would you say that this is becoming a trend?

"I think it’s interesting. We’re just looking at a different kind of time right now. What’s intriguing is that you’re seeing how an artist can bring a different point of view in two different bodies of work. It can draw a tension. You’re starting to see that everyone is trying to reinvent themselves. Galleries are thinking, “What can we do to bring attention to our season?”

Was the synergy of your shows with New York Fashion Week intentional? Your work has always intersected with fashion.

"I really wasn’t aware that it was going to be the kick off of Fashion Week. It was just a nice thing that it was.  Because I think my work blends these two worlds. It was interesting for me, teaching fashion at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, showing two sides of what feeds my work. So for me to be able to connect with the fashion world, to be able to have that world of designers bring their friends to see my show, is good. Hopefully I’m providing insight that will motivate everyone."

Which designers have inspired your work the most?

"I’m interested in the ones who cross over into exhibitions and museums. It’s not that they’re creating collections, but creating installations. People like, say, Yohji YamamotoIssey Miyake and Alexander McQueen. Where it isn’t just about fashion, but setting the stage, a performance. Eventually I want to transition to a place where my work is going to be about full-blown performance."

Your show, For Now, at Mary Boone has a different character from Ever After at Jack Shainman. How did you approach each body of work?

"In the studio, the work was developed all at the same time. But I wanted both shows to have a different type of vibe or a different experience. Jack’s show, Forever After, was in memory of my friend [the curator] Matthew Mascotte, who passed on. The title means I will love you forever after. It was my speaking about loss and that sort of transitioning. And then it was also my trying to figure out how to strip myself down to the core. So I used one material, I wanted it to be as minimal as I possibly could get it. I wanted to have this clarity that was peaceful and quiet. And with Mary’s show, I wanted to invite you to the playground. It’s about this abundance, this excess and this sort of extreme way of building a work of art. It’s fun and whimsical and opulent and extreme."

It’s funny that you mention that because there is a return to opulence happening in fashion right now for fall.

"Exactly, it’s nice to see how these worlds intersect, to see these fashion people wandering into the galleries after a fashion show is nice. We’re sharing similar experiences — the same worlds — at the same time. There is an exchange happening."

How much does your work comment on race?

"I would say fifty percent, for sure. I figure the black artist, or the black male artist, has so much amazing fuel to consider. The culture is so rich. It’s a critical component in my work. For instance, with Jack’s show there is a piece shaped like a tuba, but the sound is blocked. That came from being in Chicago and seeing these views in terms of crime and the loss of our children and violence. People are dying, but no one is listening. And I was thinking about New Orleans. How, when you lose someone, there is this procession moving through the streets.  But I’m not direct with [the race references]. I don’t want to just be blatant and in your face with it. I try to find a universal connection."

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