Nick Cave


Artwork Detail

Chicago-based African American artist Nick Cave (b. 1959) produces work across many mediums, including sculpture, textile, installation, video, and performance. His works are entrancingly optimistic and borrow their performative elements from dance (the artist trained with Alvin Ailey Dance Company) as well as ceremony, ritual, carnival and haute couture. While vividly appealing and optically intoxicating, the works speak to issues surrounding identity and social justice, specifically race, violence, and civic responsibility.

Cave is most celebrated for his wearable costume-like sculptures named Soundsuits, because of the noise made when they move. This series remains a response by the artist to the 1991 beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department. As an African American man, Cave felt particularly vulnerable after the incident and his Soundsuits were created to form seductive camouflage or dazzling armour as a mode of protection from profiling by concealing race, gender, and class.

Nick Cave
Production date
mixed media including vintage textile and sequined appliques, knitted yarn, metal and mannequin
2457 x 691 x 411 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland Art Gallery Foundation Annual Appeal, 2018
Accession no
Other ID
NC08 003 Reference number (external institution)
Copying restrictions apply
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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