An exhibition of Soundsuits, fantastical fashion-meets-sculpture creations by sculptor, performance artist, and dancer Nick Cave, are currently on display in northern California at the Anderson Collection at Stanford University through August 14, 2017. Intriguing and invigorating, Cave’s Soundsuits have been brought to life by the artist and other dancers in a series of videos. For this week’s Listen Up we’d like to share a 2:02 video by Yessian Music, directed by Sandro Miller, entitled “Nick Cave Project.” We have also shared a 13:18 video of a 2015 interview with Nick Cave at the Institute of Contemporary Art/ Boston. If you are in the Bay Area we would highly recommend a live talk with the artist on March 9th at Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall as part of the free McMurtry Lecture Series.
header photo above: detail from “In the Cabin in the Woods” by Jimmie Durham from “The Congured Life: the Legacy of Surrealism” at the Cantor Center for the Arts
People always ask me, “Where do you get your inspiration?” Well, the short answer is everywhere. But one of my favorite places to go when I need a fresh perspective is an art museum. Wherever we travel — locally, across the U.S., or abroad – we seek out great museums ranging from the grand dames to quirky (sometimes wonderfully weird) small collections.
At the recommendation of our artist friend, Mark Ashworth, this week we traveled 2 hours from home to Stanford University for the Anderson Collection and the Cantor Center for the Arts. We had seen a few of Nick Cave’s Soundsuits in other museums, but the current exhibit at the Anderson includes some choice pieces along with the artist’s Blu-ray videos projected on a big screen. In particular, the video “Blot” from 2012 is pure joy and Nick Cave’s use of found objects, kinetic color, texture and giant scale revs up the imagination.
Nick Cave’s Soundsuits may have been the “Eureka moment” for many fashion designers this season. Moschino and Sibling both experimented with the look of grandma’s coverlets in bright primary colors echoing some of Cave’s famous crocheted suits. Just as Cave creates layers upon layers in his work, Moschino embellished crocheted surfaces with 3-D flowers because more is more. The amazing movement of fur and hair in other Soundsuits may have inspired the super-long fringe on Pucci’s colorful oversized envelope bag. Bold, graphic socks figure prominently in Cave’s creations; likewise, one of the influential members of the Antwerp Six, Walter Van Beirendonck, amped up the runway with audacious socks and vivid, fearless accessories. Balmain created crocheted knitwear, mixing vibrant contrasting patterns and stripes for both its men’s and women’s labels. These art-inspired trends are popping up in the mass market as DIY knitters and crocheters rediscover old patterns and are recreating their own grannie-square creations from children’s easy T-shapes and women’s A-line jackets to men’s boxer shorts.
I hope your imagination is triggered by Nick Cave’s artistry; if so, I encourage you to check out my new Pinterest board, “Art Inspired Fashion,” for more images illustrating the confluence of art and fashion. My style prescription for the week – spend a day in a museum!
Stanford University’s expansive palm-tree-lined campus is a perfect day trip for art inspiration. Side by side, the Anderson Collection and the Cantor Center for the Arts offer works by modern and contemporary artists, an impressive collection of Rodin (including a sculpture garden), antiquities from Asia, Africa and Oceania, a brief history of the Stanford family, and temporary exhibits. After a light lunch at the Cantor’s Cool Café overlooking the Rodin garden, be sure to visit President Herbert Hoover’s Library and Archives on your way to the observation platform in Hoover Tower. On a clear day, the view stretches to San Francisco. Drive through Professorville, a historic enclave of American craftsman and Dutch colonial homes built by Stanford professors in nearby Palo Alto beginning in the 1890’s. Draw your day of art, history and culture to a civilized close with French tea and patisseries at Mademoiselle Colette in Menlo Park.