Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

July 30, 2009


Host: Ted Simons

Nick Cave Art Exhibit


  • We’ll take you on a tour of “Meet Me at the Center of the Earth,” a new exhibit at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary art featuring the work of artist Nick Cave.
Category: The Arts

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
"Meet Me at the Center of the Earth" is a new art exhibit at the Scottsdale museum of contemporary art. It's a traveling exhibition that showcases sculptured art in unique form of full body costumes. Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez introduces us to the works of artist Nick Cave.

Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez:
Pieces of art that celebrates culture and explores traditions and history with vibrant colors. Unique materials, and distinctive movements and sounds. These are the works of Nick Cave. The nationally recognized artist most notable for his unique sculptures of full-body costumes. The Scottsdale museum of contemporary art showcases the Nick Cave collection in an exhibition called "Meet Me at the Center of the Earth." The costumes are made of scavenged materials ranging from buttons, beads, and toys, to old sweaters, purses, and even human hair. The costumes are named for the sounds each makes when they are worn. Cave transforms discarded objects into works of art.

Nick Cave:
I think it this work has conviction. I think it has what I feel. It has what I believe in.

Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez:
Cave's art was inspired by the beating of Rodney king. The African-American male beaten by L.A. police officers during the 1992 L.A. riots. Cave recalls that day as the moment he reflected on who he was as a black man, and how the widely televised incident made him feel. He was so moved; he decided to create a sculpture and chose to use twigs lying in the park as the material. The piece was initially created with twigs as a symbol of a hard shield fighting back cave's own feelings of being devalued and discarded. But it turned out to be a super human like costume he could actually wear.

Nick Cave:
When I completed it, I thought, oh, my god, I can wear this thing. And so when I put it on, you know, my entire life changed at that point. Because then there was the sound suit. And so it's never been the same. It was that incident that sort of triggered and really sort of made me realize that I wanted to be an artist with a conscience.

Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez:
Among artists, Cave is called a Shaman. Siberian word for one who knows. It's used to describe indigenous persons who practice medicine. And connect to the spiritual aspect of a people. Cave says his sound suits are a means for him to connect to what has happened in the past and who we are today. The collection served as a vehicle for a spiritual journey to connect with others at the center of the earth.

Nick Cave:
It's really about sort of removing one's identity. It doesn't matter. What matters is that it exists and it is another. It's something other than what we know.

Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez:
This is the first time the sound suit's exhibition is showcased in Arizona, and the second of a nationwide seven-stop tour. For the Scottsdale museum of contemporary art, Nick Cave's exhibition is an opportunity for valley art enthusiasts to experience a new wave of contemporary fine art.

Claire Schneider:
What we've done is bring really great art to town, and this is art that deals with the same issues other contemporary art deals with. Using materials and different kinds of material to make new art you've never seen before. And it deals with the issues of transformation and identity, and living in today's world and responding to that.

Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez:
Cave encourages those who visit the exhibition, including children, to imagine themselves in the sound suits dancing and being empowered by their own imagination.

Ted Simons:
That's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thanks for joining us. You have a great evening.

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