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Lot No. 9
Nick Cave

  • NYC Benefit Auction

  • Tribeca Rooftop

Up Right, 2015
A film by The Right Brothers
Running time 20:16
Includes certificate of authenticity
Edition 4 of 25 with 2 artist proofs

An artist working in sculpture, installation, video, and sound, Nick Cave perhaps best known for his Soundsuits, sculptural forms that camouflage the body in colorful costumes, creating a second skin that conceals race, gender, and class. There is an increasing urgency to Cave’s work, signaling his belief that it is time to remove the mask his Soundsuits once provided, to confront profiling, violence, and racism head on. This belief led to Cave’s most complex work to date: Until (on view at MASS MoCA through September 2017). When faced with MASS MoCA’s football-field-sized Building 5, Cave’s first instinct was to create an immersive installation that would engulf viewers as if they had entered the interior of a Soundsuit — right into the belly of the beast. But creating an immersive installation was not enough. Cave feels civic responsibility, often referring to himself as a change agent or messenger. This is prevalent in his community-based works in Detroit, Michigan, and Shreveport, Louisiana, where he produced community performances (part art, part talent shows), with Cave the artist-cum-bandleader, urging communities to explore art as an agent of change. While in Detroit, Cave created Up Right (2015), a rich meditative film that observes Cave inviting at-risk youths from local community centers to trust him and undergo a metamorphosis of sorts as they are costumed in his Soundsuits. With its church gospel choir, the film is a stirring performance of dance, cultural symbolism, and storytelling.

Like Cave’s exhibit Until, the film is a beautifully rendered vehicle for discussion and a way people can talk plainly about the difficult times in which we find ourselves. “Cave asks us to dream with him,” wrote curator Denise Markonish, “but he also reminds us to act in the real world.”

Cave’s work can be found in many public collections including the Brooklyn Museum; Crystal Bridges, Bentonville; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Smithsonian Institution; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. Cave, who lives and works in Chicago, is professor and Chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Estimated value: $10,000

The October 25 live auction will be conducted by Eric Widing, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s Americas. To place an absentee bid, fill out this form, and email it to Rebecca Wehry at rwehry@massmoca.org by 10am on October 25.