All posts in “soundsuit”

Object of the Week: Soundsuit

In this special edition of Object of the Week, the three Empathics who have taken up residence at SAM in the installation Lessons from the Institute of Empathy share their thoughts on Nick Cave’s Soundsuit. The Empathics are part of ChimaTEK: Virtual Chimeric Space by contemporary artist Saya Woolfalk. They have surrounded themselves with works from our African art collection and are asking questions and sharing information about the art as a way to help visitors awaken their own empathy.

EMPATHIC LESSON: CONSIDER THE CHIMERIC

Nick Cave’s suits mix anatomical features in a perplexing way. Are they human or not? This question is being asked in science as human and nonhuman species can be merged to create new forms of life, known as chimeras. Does this combination show disrespect for human dignity or is it a step toward progress? The Empathics wonder what the potential of crossing species might be.

Using hair collected from barber shops in Chicago is a strategic move that Nick Cave explains: “The hair creates an animal sensibility. You know it’s hair, but you don’t know where it comes from. It’s seductive, but also a bit scary. Animals have so much to teach us. I hope that by merging animal parts with human parts in these Soundsuits, I force people to pay attention to what they are doing to our earth and the animals living here with us. I’m having fun and using whimsical circus imagery to ask people to consider the underlying tragedy we are perpetrating. We have to find ways to live with each other, extend our compassion to other communities and take care of our natural resources.”

Nick Cave goes on to share the history of his Soundsuits, two of which are on view. “My first Soundsuit was made out of twigs. The initial concept came from the Rodney King incident and the Los Angeles riots in 1992; as I was reading about the riots, I was thinking about the feeling that I was dealing with as a black male, feeling smaller, devalued, invalid . . . the incident was larger than life: six policemen bringing Mr. King down. . . . I was in the park one day, sitting, thinking about everything around the riot, and then I looked on the ground and found a twig. I created a sculpture from twigs. . . . When I put it on and started to move in it, I realized that it made a sound and I began to think a lot about protest, that in order to protest you have to be heard, and in order to be heard you have to be aggressive.”

– The Empathics, The Institute of Empathy

Images: Soundsuit, 2006, Nick Cave, fabricated fencing mask, human hair, sweaters, beads, and metal wire, approx. 6 feet tall, on mannequin, Gift of the Vascovitz Family in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2007.70 © Nick Cave. Installation view of Lessons from the Institute of Empathy at Seattle Art Museum, 2018, photos: Natali Wiseman.

 

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Masks in the Bullitt Library’s Collection

The Seattle Art Museum’s current exhibition, Disguise, examines 21st-century evolutions of the African mask and explores contemporary forms of disguise. For this latest book installation from the Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Library, we drew upon unique works in our Special Collections related to masks. They run the gamut between the restraint of an early 20th-century collection catalogue and the intensity of an early 21st-century work that delights the senses.

Masks Alone

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Portier, André and François Poncetton. Les Arts Sauvages: Afrique. Paris: Editions Albert Morancé, 1956. SPCOL OSZ NB 1080 P6.

Les Arts Sauvages: Afrique is a large folio edition that focuses its attention on the form of each mask, leaving context to our imagination. It was first published in Paris in 1927, and is authored by the French academics, André Portier (French, 1886–1969) and François Poncetton (French, 1875 or 1877–1950). It includes fifty loose-leaf collotype photographic plates printed in sepia, some overprinted with color. An elaborate, beautifully produced collection catalogue, this work displays the collections of important artists, critics, and writers of the French Surrealist and Dada movements.

Two examples of the overprinted color plates are on currently on view: Masque Pongwé (Gabon), from the collection of Stéphen-Charles Chauvet, (French, 1885-1950), known for his authorship of the first illustrated compendium on Easter Island; and Masque Man (Côte d’Ivoire), from the collection of Paul Éluard, (French, 1895-1952), the French surrealist poet.

Soundsuits in a Box

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From Cave, Nick. Soundsuits Boxfolio. Chicago: Soundsuit Shop, 2006. SPCOL N 6537 C447 S68 2009.

“The wearers and their masks participate in a consuming spectacle: sounds, smells, the audience and the setting all play essential roles.” —Herman Burssens, African Faces: An Homage to the African Mask

Unlike the quiet, reflective nature of Les Arts Sauvages: Afrique, this artist’s book by Nick Cave (American, 1961–) has movement, makes noise, and shows us masks represented in a totally different way from that of more traditional books.

From Cave, Nick. Soundsuits Boxfolio. Chicago: Soundsuit Shop, 2006. SPCOL N 6537 C447 S68 2009.

From Cave, Nick. Soundsuits Boxfolio. Chicago: Soundsuit Shop, 2006. SPCOL N 6537 C447 S68 2009.

This Boxfolio is a rare, wonderful, instance of an artist leaving a remnant behind after a show. In 2011, artist Nick Cave held a solo exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum and this work ultimately ended up in the Bullitt Library. Best described as an artist’s book, this work contains a diverse and fascinating assortment: an iron-on patch, lenticular image, magnet, pin, blow-up punching bag, set of playing cards, set of postcards, hanging ornament, booklet, fiber optic wand, and a Viewmaster. Cave’s Soundsuit Shop tells us that “Nick’s 2006 exhibitions were accompanied by this Boxfolio which, like the Soundsuit, is a collection of unexpected items that make sound when shaken.”

Two of Nick Cave’s Soundsuits are on view in the exhibition, Disguise: Masks and Global African Art, which runs through September 7, 2015.

– Traci Timmons, Librarian, Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Library

The book installation, Masks in the Bullitt Library’s Collection, is on view just outside the Bullitt Library on the fifth floor of the Seattle Art Museum, during the library’s public hours: Wednesday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm. (Please note the library will be closed July 1-3, 2015.)

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Proposal Set-Up

Love Takes SAM by Storm

SAM’s hallways recently echoed with joyous shrieks and laughter. Although perhaps a common occurrence, the aura of joy and excitement was not from a new art piece or an exhibition opening or even a Soundsuit…

It was a marriage proposal! A young man named Storm Bennett proposed to his long-term girlfriend Stephanie in the hall of the Seattle Art Museum in a most creative way… Continue Reading…

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Nick Cave Soundsuits on view at Seattle Art Museum until June 5, 2011

Win Tickets to the June 3 SAM Remix

How would you describe this Nick Cave Soundsuit in 140 characters or less? Tweet your response to @iheartsam with the hashtag #SAMRemix, and you could win two tickets to the June 3 Remix and the opportunity to guest tweet for SAM at the event. The deadline for entries is 5 pm on Thursday, June 2.

Photo credit: James Prinz

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Art Attack! A Night Out for Teens, by Teens

Check out an epic ART ATTACK: Teen Night Out! Enjoy live music and tours led by our Teen Advisory Group  and local artists in the galleries. This event is FREE for all high school-aged students. Please bring state or high school ID.

LIVE PEFORMANCES

6–9 pm
DJ Hollywood
from KUBE heats up the turntables all night long.
Brotman Forum

6:30 pm & 7 pm
Garfield Drumline
kicks off Teen Night Out at Hammering Man (6:30 pm) and South Hall (7 pm).
Hammering Man (1st Ave. and University St) and South Hall

7:45 pm & 9 pm
Vicious Puppies
performs two breakdancing sets in South Hall (7:45 pm) and the Forum (9 pm)!
South Hall and Brotman Forum

8 pm & 9 pm
Spectrum Dance Academy
 gives Soundsuit performances in South Hall (8 pm) and the Forum (9 pm)!
South Hall and Brotman Forum

Continue Reading…

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Make Your Own Flag for March to the Center of the Earth: Community Night Out

I can’t wait to see the wearable art that people are creating for March to the Center of the Earth: Community Night Out on May 5. The evening will kick off with a fantastic parade that starts at the Hammering Man at 5:30 p.m.

If you want a quick and easy way to make something special for Community Night Out, click here now to download instructions and pattern for a DIY flag.

Or come to SAM’s Chase Open Studio at 4:30 p.m. (an hour before the parade begins) to whip up some wearable art of your own. It’s free!

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Make Wearable Art at SAM’s Chase Open Studio

Of course you’re coming to March to the Center of the Earth: Community Night Out on May 5.

The question is: Are you prepared to look FABULOUS?

This evening stop by the Chase Open Studio 5:45-8:45 pm to create your wearable art for Community Night Out. We have TONS of things that would give your look some F-L-A-R-E including fabric, sequins, feathers and more.

If you can’t make it tonight, the Open Studio will be available at 4:30 pm on May 5 an hour before the March to the Center of the Earth parade begins.

For inspiration, check out these photos from a recent SAM Creates workshop with artist Mandy Greer.

Continue Reading…

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Videos from Family Festival: Earth Day for Kids at Olympic Sculpture Park

Family Festival: Earth Day for Kids was an amazing day of activities in celebration of Earth Day at the Olympic Sculpture Park!  Everyone enjoyed making green art and fantastic live performances celebrating sustainability. Plus, dancers from Cornish College of the Arts brought Nick Cave’s Soundsuits to life! Thanks again to Target for making this event–and other family-friendly events that are focused on art–possible! Here are two fun videos from the event.

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