If you think you know Nick Cave, think again. The artist known for his wearable sculptures called Soundsuits turns expectations inside out at MASS MoCA in a massive immersive installation opening October 15, 2016; not a single Soundsuit will be found in this exhibition. 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 an event-driven space. Conceived as a one-year concatenation of performances, community events, and art, Until incorporates special appearances by internationally known 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 empowering. Just as the violence around 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 MASS MoCA installation, Until — a double play on the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” or in this case “guilty until proven innocent” — Cave addresses issues of gun violence, gun control policy, race relations, and gender politics in America today.