Nick Cave
American fabric sculptor, dancer, and performance artist



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Nick Cave
American fabric sculptor, dancer, and performance artist

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The first time I stumbled upon a Nick Cave piece (at the Seattle Art Museum) my initial reaction was one of confusion. Thinking of musican Nick Cave, of the Bad Seeds, it just didn't seem plausible to me that such a sinister frontman could lead a double life as the creator of whimsical, bejeweled ceremonial robes.

I was right. This Nick Cave is an African American artist who grew up in central Missouri with seven brothers. Early in his career, Cave designed window displays at Macys in NYC. He also did a stint in fashion design, and trained as a professional dancer with Alvin Ailey. These days he's known widely for his garment-like fabric sculptures and his performance pieces. 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Nick Cave (performance artist)

Nick Cave (born February 4, 1959 in Fulton, Missouri, United States) is an American fabric sculptor, dancer, and performance artist. He is best known for his Soundsuits: wearable fabric sculptures that are bright, whimsical, and other-worldly. He also trained as a dancer with Alvin Ailey. He resides in Chicago and is director of the graduate fashion program at School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Early life and education

Nick Cave was raised in central Missouri, by a single mother. He is the youngest of seven boys, and the family was of modest means. Cave attributes his interest in found objects and assemblage to his childhood circumstances. Cave showed creativity and artistic ability at a young age. Graduating from Hickman High School in 1977, he enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute. There he continued to express himself through both visual art and performance art and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1982. In 1979, Cave met Alvin Ailey and spent that summer and several summers thereafter in New York, New York studying with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. After graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1981, he designed displays for the department store, Macy’s, and worked professionally as a fashion designer, while continuing his passions as an artist and dancer. Cave earned his M.F.A. degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 1988. He also did some graduate coursework at North Texas State University.

Joining the faculty of the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, after his graduation from Cranbrook, Cave has built a reputation as an educator and performance artist, especially with his ritualistic costumes called “Soundsuits.” In 2007, he planned an event in Chicago involving three dance companies, musicians and over 120 sculptured suits.

As of 2018 Nick Cave resides in Chicago and is very active member in artist community he simultaneously fuels and creates.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Nick Cave (performance artist).