Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth

“Whether Nick Cave’s efforts qualify as fashion, body art or sculpture…they fall squarely under the heading of Must Be Seen to Be Believed.” Roberta Smith, The New York Times

Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth, until May 30, 2010 at the Fowler Museum, UCLA, USA. —is the largest presentation of work by Chicago-based artist Nick Cave (not that one), featuring thirty-five of his “Soundsuits”—multi-layered, mixed-media sculptures named for the sounds made when the “suits” are performed.

Evocative of African, Caribbean and other ceremonial ensembles as well as haute couture, Cave’s work explores issues of transformation, ritual, myth and identity through a layering of references and virtuosic construction, using materials as varied as yarn, beads, sequins, bottle caps, vintage toys, rusted iron sticks, twigs, leaves, and hair. Mad, humorous, visionary, glamorous and unexpected, the Soundsuits are created from scavenged ordinary materials and objects from both nature and culture, which Cave re-contextualizes into extraordinary works of art. The Fowler is the first LA-area museum to feature Cave’s work and the only Southern California venue for this traveling exhibition.

The Fowler presentation of this exhibition holds particular meaning for the artist and for Los Angeles because Cave’s first Soundsuit was sparked by the civil unrest in Los Angeles in 1992 following the acquittal of the officers involved in the Rodney King beating. The Soundsuits almost always cover the whole body, erasing the identity of the wearer. Thus, the Soundsuits can be understood as coats of armor, shielding Cave from the day-to-day prejudice he encounters as an African American man, and facilitating a transformation into an invented realm of vibrant associations and meanings.

“In addition to this particular relevance for Los Angeles, Nick Cave’s Soundsuits resonate with many of the genres of global art for which the Fowler is known, including African masquerade ensembles, Haitian Vodou beaded flags, Carnival costumes and examples from our vast textile collections,” says Marla C. Berns, Shirley & Ralph Shapiro Director of the Fowler Museum. “This presentation is one in a succession of solo shows focusing on works by artists that speak to the Museum’s collections and exhibition history and highlight our capacity to provocatively consider interdisciplinary international work.” Other such artists with recent solo exhibitions at the Fowler are El Anatsui, Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Samta Benyahia and Edouard Duval-Carrié.

For this exhibition, Cave also employs animal imagery in ways as complex and multi-layered as the human-based suits. While conjuring the spiritual strength and power of animal totems used in ancient rituals from around the world, Cave’s Soundsuits also become vessels of transformation, and seek to connect us to the earth and the animals around us. Using wit and humor and a fanciful sensibility, Cave’s Soundsuits beg us to pay attention and to dream of a different future.

“To me, everything outside of myself is community. I don’t see myself as an artist but as a humanitarian using art to create change. My hope is that these new Soundsuits will cause people to find ways to live with each other, extend our compassion to other communities, and take care of our natural resources. If I can create an opportunity to bring people of all creeds, identities, and interests together, then I am doing my work,” said Nick Cave.

A video montage of the suits being worn in performance will give viewers a sense of the cacophony of sounds and sensations that are integral to the work. In addition, the Fowler is partnering with dancers and choreographers in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures to create a series of performance-interventions (termed by Nick Cave’ Soundsuit Invasions’) in and around Los Angeles that will animate a special set of wearable Soundsuits. Times and locations for these Soundsuit Invasions will be announced via the Fowler’s Fowler’s Twitter feed and Facebook page


About Nick Cave
Cave received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1982 and MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1989. He studied fiber art, but is committed to a broad spectrum of interests and disciplines. Cave is an associate professor and chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he teaches in the Fiber Arts Program. He has led workshops on topics such as Extending the Body: Experiments in Clothing and has designed, manufactured, and marketed his own line of men’s and women’s clothing. He has received numerous awards including the United States Artist Fellow Award (2006) and Joyce Award (2006), and his work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and Europe.

Lawrence Lessig on Culture, Freedom and Responsibility.


March 11, 2010: Speech at Italian Parliament by Lawrence Lessig hosted by President of the Parliament, titled “Internet is Freedom”. A new frame to a central theme.

These presentations by Lawrence Lessig on Free Culture, corruption, Net Neutrality, privacy, cyberlaw, copyright, RESPONSIBILITY and Democratic politics, should be seen by every Modern mind. And every Modern mind should reflect on them. We, the people, still have the power.

Presentation made at the OpenVideoAlliance Webside Chat on February 25, 2010.

The Exhibitionist

From their web site:
“The Exhibitionist is a new journal focusing solely on the practice of exhibition making. The objective is to create a wider platform for the discussion of curatorial concerns, encourage a diversification of curatorial models, and actively contribute to the formation of a theory of curating.

The journal is a publication made by curators for curators and understands itself as a site for critical debate in regards to the practice of exhibition making. The Exhibitionist will be published twice a year and will follow a strict editorial structure that revolves around the analysis and examination of past, present, and future exhibitions and other curatorial ideas. Under the title Curators’ Favorites each issue will present three texts for which three curators will write a personal essay about their favorite exhibition, contemporary or historic. This will be followed by an in-depth look at a historically important exhibition in the section Back in the DayAssessments will comprise the core of the journal. Here four curators will focus on reviewing one significant contemporary exhibition from different points of view. Typologies opens up the debate around specific exhibition formats. The section Attitudes will feature a text by a member of the editorial board reflecting on the current state of exhibition making while Rear View invites a curator to reflect upon an exhibition s/he has recently curated. Every fourth issue a conversation about past contributions, the content and the form of the journal between some of the past contributors will offer a forum for self-reflexivity.”

Picturing NY: Photographs from The Museum of Modern Art

Coming this Autumn, a magnificent exhibition that will bring to Dublin a taste of the old New York photographed by some big names like Cindy Sherman, Diane Arbus, Berenice Abbot, Alfred Stieglitz, and more.
It will be at IMMA from the 25 Nov 2009 to the 07 Feb 2010.
Picturing New York

Picturing New York comprises 150 masterworks from the photographic collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, covering the period from the 1880s to the present day. It celebrates the tradition of photographing New York, a tradition that frames and influences the perception of this vibrant urban centre. Including photographs by such influential photographers as Berenice Abbot, Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, Lisette Model, Alfred Stieglitz and Cindy Sherman, it explores both New York and its inhabitants, highlighting associations – from the vast, overwhelming architecture and bright lights, to the diversity of people that lie at the soul of the city.

Picturing New York

The photographs reveal New York as a city of contrasts and extremes through images of towering blocks and tenements, party-goers and street-dwellers, hurried groups and solitary individuals. Picturing New York demonstrates the symbiosis between the city’s progression from past to present and the evolution of photography as a medium and as an art form. Additionally, these photographs of New York contribute significantly to the notion that the photograph, as a work of art, is capable of constructing a sense of place and a sense of self.

Picturing New York

Picturing New York: Photographs from The Museum of Modern Art is organised by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and is travelling under the auspices of the International Council of MoMA. It is curated by Sarah Meister, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings at MoMA. The exhibition will also be  presented at La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain (26 March to 14 June 2009) and the Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy, (11 July to 11 October  2009).

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue produced by Thames & Hudson which includes a foreword by Enrique Juncosa, Director, IMMA, an essay by the curator Sarah Meister, and text by notable New Yorkers.

via IMMA

International Exposure for Irish Photographers

oachim. From the exhibition "Under a Grey Sky" at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin, October - November 2009. © Simon Burch

Joachim. From the exhibition "Under a Grey Sky" at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin, October - November 2009. © Simon Burch

Exciting new work by emerging and established Irish photographers will be displayed at this year’s Photo Rencontres in Arles, France, the biggest event of the international photography calendar.

Supported by the Arts Council and Culture Ireland, the Gallery of Photography is presenting an exciting showcase of Irish photographic talent at the International Photo Rencontres in Arles, France.

The packed programme includes solo presentations by four leading photographers, and a specially curated group show, providing fascinating insights into the social landscape of new Ireland. The featured works are:

Noel Bowler – ‘Iman’. An exploration of the ethnic diversity of Islam in Ireland
Eoin O Conaill – ‘Common Place’. New colour landscapes from throughout Ireland.
Simon Burch – ‘Under a Grey Sky’. Landscapes and portraits from the boglands of the mid-West.
Jackie Nickerson – ‘DOMICILE’. A psychological portrait of a small community in County Louth.

The solo presentations are complemented by a specially-curated group exhibition, ‘Home Economics’. It features seven of the most promising of the next generation of Irish photographic artists, Ciarán Óg Arnold, Martin Cregg, Aislinn Delaney, Peter Doyle, Garvan Gallagher, Kevin Griffin and Daniel Scully. ‘Home Economics’ brings together a vibrant and diverse series of works, which portray the complexity of Ireland’s social transformation during and after the Celtic Tiger years.

The exhibitions will be presented at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, France on July 10th 2009.
Venue: 9, Rue du Roure, La Roquette, Arles.
Press reception: July 10th 2009, 9pm.

Supported by Culture Ireland and the Arts Council.

For further information, press scans or to interview the artist, please contact: Tanya Kiang, Gallery of Photography 353-1-6714654, tanya@galleryofphotography.ie

via galleryofphotography.ie

Police filming English streets in 1935

This film illustrates an early example of technologically-mediated visual surveillance: the use of cine cameras by the British police in 1935 in the English town of Chesterfield in an operation to crack down on illegal street betting. The film accompanies an article by Chris Williams in Surveillance & Society 6(1) which explains what was going on and why… You can read the abstract or the full article Police filming English streets in 1935: the limits of mediated identification(Chris A Williams, James Patterson, James Taylor).

Chris A Williams, James Patterson, James Taylor

A Photographic Share Economy?

President and First Lady Obama at the Inaugural Youth Ball

At the Inaugural Youth Ball, the new President of the United States of (North) America and the First Lady Obama salute the crowd.


What an amazing image!
While the event is happening, we the audience indulge in its consumption by recording it, rather than experiencing the event itself. We engage the media, the channel, the interface, and not the message. This image speaks volumes about how we experience reality, about our relation with the image world, and about ownership. I saw it recently on Coscientious (through TomorrowMuseum, Venture Beat, Ekstasis, Constant Siege). Although we have seem similar images or may have even experience this ourselves, specially during concerts, perhaps because of the event, Obama’s new presidency celebrations, it may have reached global values.

It is obvious that such mass-recorded events could not have taken place last century, without the advent of new technologies that could facilitate both the mass production and the mass distribution of the photographic apparatus. But it was bound to happen, as more and more people become owners of digital cameras.

There is a double intrinsic idea in the photographic act: not only you think it is worth recording, but it is also worth owning. The image Im taking is precious both because I was there and it was important, and because I desire to be the owner of that document.

A while ago I read about Kevin Kelly’s essay Better Than Owning, that arrived to me in a much shorter version in Boing Boing feed, that I read about again in Share Economy, and I think it is worth repeating here:

Very likely, in the near future, I won’t “own” any music, or books, or movies. Instead I will have immediate access to all music, all books, all movies using an always-on service, via a subscription fee or tax. I won’t buy – as in make a decision to own — any individual music or books because I can simply request to see or hear them on demand from the stream of ALL. I may pay for them in bulk but I won’t own them. The request to enjoy a work is thus separated from the more complicated choice of whether I want to “own” it. I can consume a movie, music or book without having to decide or follow up on ownership.

For many people this type of instant universal access is better than owning. No responsibility of care, backing up, sorting, cataloging, cleaning, or storage. As they gain in public accessibility, books, music and movies are headed to become social goods even though they might not be paid by taxes. It’s not hard to imagine most other intangible goods becoming social goods as well. Games, education, and health info are also headed in that direction.

It is hard to chew a way forward in terms of a Photographic share economy, though while it seems excessive for mankind to record the same event with millions of cameras, we all want to have one, to take one. Maybe the issue is there, in the sharing. Or perhaps we have to relax and enjoy what we are experiencing rather than recording it (remember how we became slaves of our video-cameras in the 80’s?), is it then a matter of education? a cultural construct?

Paper Galore II


REAL FANTASIES – New Photography from Switzerland

A highly constructed selection of Swiss photographers with the purpose of identifying trends in Swiss contemporary photography, although some of the work is more than 5 years old. Worth, all the same.

Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art.
Catalogue from the exhibition at the International Center of Photography.


Photography: Crisis of History. JOAN FONTCUBERTA, ED.

A must have.

12. vfg Nachwuchsförderpreis
Was at the opening of the exhibition. Nothing I haven’t seen in Dublin.

Purple Fashion Magazine
With articles about Terry Richardson amongst others. A pretty weird nudity section included.

Photography Now Journal for Photography and Video Art
The best way to digest their humongous web site database.

Eye Magazine
The International Review of Graphic Design. Full of delicious fonts, everywhere.