Nick Cave Visit

Nick Cave in his apartment

Nick Cave in his apartment

Last Saturday, July 27 I went on a day trip to Chicago with the Contemporary Art Society and African American Art Alliance to visit the home of 30 Americans artist, Nick Cave.  His pieces, “Soundsuit,” are currently on display at the Milwaukee Art Museum in the 30 Americans exhibit.  Nick is very personable, friendly, and passionately serious about his work.  If you haven’t gotten a chance to visit the exhibit here’s one of his pieces.  It is a combination of fabric, fiberglass, and metal.

Soundsuit

Soundsuit

He recently completed new work for his newest exhibition, “Sojourn” at the Denver Art Museum, in Denver, CO.  So, with a break in the action, Nick allowed us to come into his art studios and personal living space.  The first studio we entered had materials laid out on tables that were part of his unfinished commissioned pieces.  Nick, and his graphic designer/creative director Bob Faust, are shopaholics!  They regularly visit tons of resale shops far and wide to find the treasures he uses in his creations.  He is very particular about what he is looking for and knows what he intends to use it for.  We saw many rooms containing bins of buttons, mannequin forms, and several sewing machines.  The second studio we entered contained more “works in progress” and more sewing machines.  There was so much raw material and we all laughed afterwards remembering earlier that Bob told us the studio was “quiet” because it had been recently emptied in preparation for the Denver show.

Next we went into his apartment.  “Speechless,” “WOW!” and “Amazing,” are some of the adjectives used to describe what we saw.  It was eye candy overload because Nick is a serious art collector and says he has a hard time not buying art when he visits an exhibition.  In every room (and there were many) we found art on the walls, floors, doors—just about everywhere!  Interestingly the number of art pieces didn’t make his space overly busy or crowded.  Every piece had its place and fit well with other art, furniture, and everything else in the room.

Nick with visitor

Nick with visitor

I fell in love with his personable spirit right away.  Nick joked that he is ok if you’re ok.  His students at the Chicago Art Institute are both challenged and enthusiastic when he is in the classroom.  He expressed the same thing many artists already know—hard work ethic and determination are a must in order to succeed.

As an artist I am always inspired and excited when I meet new artists and listen as they share their vision.  Meeting Nick Cave was for me a delightful high that will last for quite a while.

Me and Nick Cave

Me and Nick Cave

30 Americans / Wisconsin 30

In June, the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) opened a spectacular survey of contemporary art: 30 Americans (www.rfc.museum/past-exhibitions/3-30-americans). This exhibition taken from the Rubell Foundation, is one of the finest private collections of contemporary art in the country. All of the artists in the exhibition are African American.  Donald and Mera Rubell spent about four decades working with these artists to create an exhibition that is powerful and relevant today. Here are the artists in the exhibition:

Nina Chanel Abney
John Bankston
Jean-Michel Basquiat
Mark Bradford
Iona Rozeal Brown
Nick Cave
Robert Colescott
Noah Davis
Leonardo Drew
Renée Green
David Hammons
Barkley L. Hendricks
Rashid Johnson
Glenn Ligon
Kalup Linzy
Kerry James Marshall
Rodney McMillian
Wangechi Mutu
William Pope.L
Gary Simmons
Xaviera Simmons
Lorna Simpson
Shinique Smith
Jeff Sonhouse
Henry Taylor
Hank Willis Thomas
Mickalene Thomas
Kara Walker
Carrie Mae Weems
Kehinde Wiley
Purvis Young

In conjunction with this exhibition, the Milwaukee Art Museum presents Wisconsin 30, a parallel exhibition featuring paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, and sculpture by thirty Wisconsin African American artists. This exhibition presents a complementary overview of the themes of race and identity explored in 30 Americans, focusing on Wisconsin. I have been chosen to be part of the Wisconsin 30!!  Here’s my piece that is part of the show:

Ringin' Round the Rosie

Ringin’ Round the Rosie

The other artists included in Wisconsin 30 are:  Dave Anderson, Marlon Banks, Kevin Boatright, Reggie Baylor, Trenton Baylor, Brad Anthony Bernard, Tyanna Buie, Larry Chatman, Portia Cobb, Jamal Currie, Paul Davis, Anwar Floyd-Pruitt, Mikal Floyd-Pruitt, Freida High-Tesfagiorgis, Vedale Hill, Sonji Hunt, Mutope Johnson, Sharon Kerry-Harlan, Richard Lewis, Charly Palmer, Christopher McIntyre, Ras Ammar Nsaroma, Sherman Pitts, Leslie Smith, Evelyn Patricia Terry, Babette Wainright, Della Wells, Iverson White, George Williams.

wisconsin-30-artists

Wisconsin 30 is organized by the MAM, in coordination with Sande Robinson, president, Milwaukee Art Museum’s African American Art Alliance (Quad A), and Lynne Shumow, curator of education, Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University.  Kudos and more kudos go to these women for a stellar job in bringing it all together!

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