From floral Soundsuits and found-object sculptures to a multicolor web of millions of pony beads, Forothermore surveys the 30-plus-year career of artist Nick Cave. The retrospective, which draws its name from “forevermore” and “for others,” opened last week at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and captures both the evolution and mainstays of the artist’s practice. Cave spoke with Colossal in an interview ahead of the show, saying, “Why now, why now this moment, why this exhibition, why this survey, and who is it for? Once I removed myself from it, I realized that it’s not for me. It really allowed me to take a course of action in terms of that movement and what will this look like, looking at three and a half decades of work.”
Arranged thematically rather than chronologically, the exhibition opens with an iteration of the metallic wind spinners that were part of Cave’s 2017 show at MASS MoCA. Guns, bullets, and teardrops are embedded in some of the kinetic pieces that hang alongside smiling faces and peace signs. These sinister symbols pervade the suspended installation, which considers how a desire to only see beauty can mask painful, life-threatening issues.
Heavily patterned vinyl wallpaper designed in collaboration with Cave’s partner Bob Faust runs through much of the show and creates a textured backdrop for the artist’s mixed-media assemblages of kitsch figurines, vintage furniture, and other trinkets. Dozens of his signature Soundsuits stand inside the fourth-floor gallery, including the mournful piece veiled in 929 black flowers that was created in response to George Floyd’s murder. Wall sculptures made of items sourced from flea markets—these include rusted tools, dominos, wooden boards, button-up shirts, and glittering orbs—date back to the 90s and surround the vibrant, armor-like costumes.
Cave created the first Soundsuit following Rodney King’s beating in 1991, and he’s never wavered from confronting racism in his works. “As I’m trying to imagine other ways of thinking and making, I’m constantly being brought back to this, unfortunately,” he says. The exhibition also includes a collection of bronze arms cradling sprawling, metallic bouquets with hands often clenched and raised in a fist, a reference to strength and solidarity in the face of rampant injustice.
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Across nearly 450 pages, PRIME: Art’s Next Generation offers a broad and insightful survey of the Millenials defining the future of the art world. As its title suggests, the massive tome is a primer on the innovative, subversive, and category-defying works that are captivating curators and art professionals. The volume is collated based on time period alone, bringing together more than 100 international artists working across mediums who were born between 1980 and 1995—this includes Jordan Casteel, Tau Lewis (previously), and Firelei Báez (previously)—in a look at what’s emerged from a cultural and creative landscape shaped by the internet and increasing connectivity. PRIME will be released on May 25 and is available for pre-order on Phaidon and Bookshop.
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Interview: Nick Cave Unpacks Silence and Compassion Ahead of His First Retrospective at Chicago's MCA
A portmanteau of forevermore and for others, Forothermore is a prescient title for the first retrospective of artist Nick Cave opening this week at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Cave discusses the career-spanning exhibition in a new interview supported by Colossal Members, starting with his Soundsuits, the captivating costumes of color and fur that are likely his most recognizable pieces. His work consistently confronts racism, homophobia, and other bigotries through the alluring, affecting power of art.
I have to think about the journey and how I get your willingness to explore and go with me. I’m always thinking about ways into the work. Once you’re in, then I tell you what is the root of the work, where is it grounded. At that moment, you have to make that decision. Do I shy away from that and consume myself with the beauty? Beauty for me is optimism. It is the future. It’s me colliding these two forces together and challenging myself, as well as the viewer, to start to dissect, to start to expand on the narrative, to talk about what they’re emotionally feeling and connecting with.
In this conversation, Cave explains how amassing three and a half decades of work in one space has been an enlightening process. He generously shares that he’s no longer allowing tragedy to function as a directive, that his devotion to silence is an essential part of his practice, and that committing 100 percent has the power to produce awe-inspiring results. Read the interview.
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“I think my art is at its best when it’s subconscious-driven,” says Mark Jenkins. Veering from the witty and absurd to the disorienting and bizarre, Jenkins’ body of work confronts perceptions of reality through the surreal: a life-sized figure climbs a fire escape upside down, limp legs hang from a dumpster, and toast springs up from a sewer grate.
Whether installed in alleys and urban areas or within the stark, white space of a gallery, Jenkins’ sculptures are theatrical and logic-defying, and each piece mimics “life to the point where it becomes real, to me,” he shares. “Creating an alternative reality has been the solution for my mental health. I find reality a bit depressing with death and all, politics, war, celebrities, etc., and that all the stars are so far away we can never really get to know the universe.”
Jenkins is currently working in Los Angeles and soon headed to Le Havre, France, for his next project. You can follow his practice and explore an expansive archive of his sculptures on his site and Instagram.
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A Chromatic Installation by Felipe Pantone Turns a Public Walkway into an Architectural Kaleidoscope
Argentinian-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone (previously) magnifies the prismatic principles that ground his Subtractive Variability series to a phenomenal scale in the newly installed “Quick Tide.” Whether working in kinetic sculpture or large-scale murals, Pantone investigates the vast realm of color theory and its bottomless potential, in this instance transforming the cyan, magenta, and yellow model into a dynamic display. “The idea of creating a system in which I can create endless color combinations within the visible color spectrum by simply rotating or displacing the same image over and over (in C, M, Y)… the results are always random, unexpected, yet always interesting for me,” Pantone tells Colossal.
The site-specific “Quick Tide” wraps the upper and lower levels of an elevated walkway in London’s Greenwich Peninsula with a vibrant collision of light and pigment—see Liz West’s transformation of the same outdoor space previously on Colossal. Angled blocks hold radial gradients to “make obvious where the different colors overlap and how different hues appear. These details are usually easy to find as chromatic aberrations in prints by looking under the magnifier,” the artist shares, noting that the combinations shift in appearance depending on the time of day and position of the viewer.
Pantone will soon open a solo show titled Manipulable at Tokyo’s Gallery COMMON that invites visitors to interact with the works, and you can follow updates on that exhibition and new works on Instagram.
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Suspended from gallery ceilings or strung across an open courtyard, innumerable lengths of yarn comprise the chromatic installations by artist Eric Rieger, aka HOTTEA (previously). He arranges the soft textiles in concentric circles or wide gradients that stretch from wall to wall, creating vibrant fields of color that shift in composition depending on the perspective. Most reflect the artist’s memories or experiences, and in recent years, he’s installed site-specific pieces in cities like Minneapolis, Houston, and Miami.
The tri-colored “Strangers” is HOTTEA’s largest outdoor work to date and was designed for Breve Festival in Belo Horizonte. Drawing on his encounters in the Brazilian city, the massive, uplifting work measures 100 feet long and 30 feet wide, with the individual yarns extending 13 feet. “The word ‘stranger’ often times has a negative connotation,” he shares on Instagram. “I liked the idea of referring to a stranger as a positive thing.”
Currently, HOTTEA is working on several installations for locations in Los Angeles, New York City, and Far Rockaway, New York. He’s also organizing a flash fashion show and collaborative project to create temporary pieces throughout his community in the Twin Cities.
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Editor's Picks: Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.