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Springfield Art Museum Hosts Nick Cave Exhibition


The Springfield Art Museum is proud to present a focused exhibition of work by preeminent multi-disciplinary artist Nick Cave, a Missouri native. Cave is an immensely important contemporary artist working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound, and performance.

He is well known for the Soundsuits series, sculptural forms based on the scale of his body. Visually, the Soundsuits – so named for the noise they make when worn – are alive with color and texture; they are covered in yarn, buttons, vintage toys, and ceramic birds. But on another level, they examine issues of identity and social justice including race, gun violence, and civic responsibility. Cave made his first Soundsuit as a response and reaction to the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles in March 1991 with sewn sticks gathered in Millennium Park in Chicago.

Stitched together, the sticks became an armor for his body, allowing for anonymity and protection. The suits are intended to camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender, and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgement. Cave has continued to investigate the power of these sculptural garments since that initial work and continues to create new Soundsuits, even as he has moved on to other larger, more immersive installation projects.

This exhibition features a selection of Soundsuits, pulled from both private collections and the artist, courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, as well as an example from the Tondo series, and the video work Drive-By. Funding for this exhibition is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.


Opening Reception – April 5, 5:30 – 7 PM

Family Day – April 13, 10 AM – Noon

Responsive Dance Performances – May 2, 7:30 PM featuring performances by the Springfield Ballet, the Springfield Dance Alliance, and the Missouri State University Dance Company.

Nick Cave runs through July 28, 2019 at the Springfield Art Museum, located at 1111 East Brookside Drive. Admission is always free. Donations are gratefully accepted.

The Springfield Art Museum is Springfield, Missouri’s oldest cultural institution, founded in 1928. A department of the City of Springfield, the Museum invites you to connect with the world, your community, and yourself through active engagement with art objects. For more information, please visit