Nick Cave: Until at MASS MoCA, October 15, 2016 – August 15, 2017

“Cave uses MASS MoCA’s signature football field-sized space to create his largest installation to date, made up of thousands of found objects and millions of beads, which will make viewers feel as if they have entered a rich sensory tapestry, like stepping directly inside the belly of one of his iconic Soundsuits. 

Often seen as celebrations of movement and material, the first Soundsuit, made out of twigs, was a direct response to the Rodney King beating, a visual image about social justice that was both brutal and empowering. Just as the violence around the Rodney King beating was the impetus to Cave’s early work, the death of men such as Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown drive his new imagery. For Cave’s MASS MoCA installation, Until — a double play on the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” or in this case “guilty until proven innocent” — Cave addresses issues of gun violence, gun control policy, race relations, and gender politics in America today.

Until begins with a dense sculptural field of metallic lawn ornaments leading to a crystal cloud topped by a private garden populated with birds, flowers, and black-face lawn jockeys, finally coming to rest before a cliff wall constructed of millions of plastic pony beads. This is an active space where alluring kinetics and a sumptuous materiality give way to stark images of guns, bullets, and targets, positioning us all as culpable, vulnerable, and potentially under attack. The aim of this is pointed, questioning us to spark discussion about important issues in a space that is at once dazzling, provocative, and — ultimately —overwhelmingly optimistic. Cave believes in humanity, celebrating possibility while also creating a forum for critical discussion.” — MASS MoCA

“I view this work as a theater set, or an elaborate community forum, as much as a work of sculpture” — Nick Cave.

exhibit at Mass MoCA

Until at Mass MoCA, 2016, photo by Douglas Mason

exhibit at Mass MoCA

Until (detail), 2016, photo by Douglas Mason

exhibit at Mass MoCA

Until (detail), 2016, photo by Douglas Mason

exhibit at Mass MoCA

Until (detail), 2016, photo by Douglas Mason

exhibit at Mass MoCA

Until (detail), 2016, photo by Douglas Mason

exhibit at Mass MoCA

Until (detail), 2016, photo by Douglas Mason

Nick Cave: Until was organized by MASS MoCA and co-produced by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art of Bentonville, Arkansas, and Carriageworks of Sydney, Australia.

Images courtesy MASS MoCA.