Denver Art Museum Exhibition Debuts New Direction for Renowned Contemporary Artist in Nick Cave: Sojourn

Opening June 9, the exhibition includes new work and incorporates a collaborative public performance

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) will present a new body of work by renowned contemporary artist Nick Cave in Nick Cave: Sojourn, on view June 9–September 22, 2013. Taking visitors on a journey through the artist’s imagination, the exhibition will feature approximately 40 new artworks including more than 20 new Soundsuits. Cave’s multi-sensory, immersive installation will transport visitors to a magical world of color, texture, sound and movement. It will be a ticketed exhibition, free for DAM members.

Nick Cave, Sojourn, 2012. Photo by James Prinz Photography. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
Sojourn represents a significant departure in Nick Cave’s career, introducing monumentally scaled work that will offer visitors an immersive experience and new narratives in Cave’s oeuvre,” said William Morrow, Polly and Mark Addison Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the DAM. “Cave in his usual fashion breaks down barriers, preconceptions of beauty and takes us on a sensory journey of self-reflection and exploration.”

New works include a sculpture made of an adorned baptismal font and a monumental passageway constructed of thousands of buttons that serve as both the entrance to the exhibition and the beginning of the journey. Next visitors will experience about 10 large-scale, 3-D sculptural objects made out of found objects including a 16-foot tondo. Taking a new direction, Cave has removed the human figure from his sculptures and focused his work on abstract and animal forms. The next gallery space allows guests to explore more than 20 new Soundsuits. Finally, the exhibition will close with four or five new short films. The DAM is producing a substantial catalogue on this new work.

A collaborative live performance is also planned. Cave will hold an open call for the general public on February 22, as part of the museum’s final Friday Untitled #54 (Turf) event. Cave is asking interested participants to bring their rhythm and spirit to the audition for a chance to participate in a Soundsuit performance. No dance training required. Cave will then choose 10–15 people to join in a performance on June 28, as part of the final Friday Untitled #58 (Getup) event at the DAM. The performance will involve local dance groups, musicians and DJs. Registration for audition spots will open February 1 at 10 a.m. on

Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2010. Mixed media. James Prinz Photography, Chicago. Courtesy of Nick Cave and the Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
“Nick Cave’s Soundsuits are mesmerizing hybrids of art, sculpture and dance,” explained Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “We’re excited to involve the general public and local dance and music groups for a large-scale performance at the DAM. Cave’s performances ignite conversations about issues like identity, community and creativity and the DAM is a perfect platform for such discussions.”

Cave grew up in a large family in Columbia, Mo., and credits his single mother for encouraging his creativity. The artist studied sculpture and fiber at the Kansas City Art Institute and also studied with the famed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, known for its contemporary choreography. The artist obtained a master’s degree at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, and is a professor at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago teaching fashion and garment design in the graduate program. He is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York.

Described as textiles-meet-modern dance, Cave’s colorful, larger-than-life sculptures have been displayed in museums and worn by Cave and other professional dancers as part of performances. The Soundsuits consist of a wide variety of materials and are designed to make noise as the wearer moves. Cave’s first Soundsuit happened in response to the 1992 Rodney King beating—he intended to create a sculpture using found twigs and once complete realized he could wear it. When he put it on, the rustling twigs created an audible kinetic dimension that resulted in the now-famed series of Soundsuit sculptures. The twig suit was the first of many Soundsuits crafted from non-traditional materials including fabric, human hair, buttons and feathers.

About Final Friday Untitled Events

On the final Friday of the month, from 6 to 10 p.m., the DAM offers a unique museum experience with unconventional art encounters, new insight into the DAM collection, art making activities, cash bar and more. At each mixed-media Untitled event, the museum highlights a specific theme with exhibition-related activities and community collaborations. That means visitors get special access to their favorite curators, educators and community experts. Visitors can curate their own night by choosing from a full menu of activities ranging from crafty projects and tours with a twist to theater performances.

Nick Cave: Sojourn is supported by the generous donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).