Making and Doing with the DAM

Boy Shares Homemade Soundsuit with Nick Cave

The Denver Art Museum was a hive of activity on June 28 during the final Friday Untitled event. We had just finished an incredible performance lab featuring artist Nick Cave, three local dance companies, 15 community performers, an improv music group, and a DJ. For me, the most memorable moment of the night happened as things were drawing to a close. Over the buzz of the crowd, I saw Nick drop to one knee and cry out, “You are adorable.” My eye was immediately drawn to a young boy wearing his own version of Nick’s famous Soundsuit, complete with a sign that read “Soundsuit in progress.” That boy was four-year-old Pascal Spangenberg and his mother, Tara Bardeen, was gracious enough to share his story with the DAM. Here it is:

After seeing the exhibit several times (at his insistence!), Pascal wanted to make a soundsuit of his own like the blue ones of raffia that roll around the screen during the film at the end of the exhibit, so when we got home one afternoon we found an old shirt of his sister's and some leftover blue yarn I had. Pascal drew a picture of the soundsuit he wanted and we worked together to select materials and start putting it together. He watched and handed me lengths of yarn as I made all the tiny scissor snips required and then knotted the yarn to the shirt. Pascal was so excited to show his suit to Nick and give Nick his soundsuit drawings.

Our first visit to Nick Cave: Sojourn was on the morning of June 18th. I had heard about the exhibit and was very excited to take the kids. Pascal was enchanted from the beginning and loved sitting through the soundsuit films at the end of the exhibit. I have to say that on each of our visits, we spent more time in the exhibit than in the play area- and that play area is super cool!

I think we were all really touched by the genuine acknowledgement Nick gave Pascal. He was so present with Pascal during their brief visit in spite of everything else that was going on that night.

Pascal says he'd like to be a professional bike rider when he grows up.

Hope Grandon is the communication and media relations coordinator at the Denver Art Museum. A Chicago transplant, Hope has been at the DAM since 2012. Her favorite exhibition to date was Becoming Van Gogh. In fact, she kicked off her 23rd birthday working in the Becoming Van Gogh galleries at 3 am during extended hours for the exhibition’s final weekend.