Announcing Artist Nick Cave and "Augment"

Nick Cave, artist, educator, and, above all, messenger, works at the nexus of visual and performing arts. Fusing a range of media, from textiles to sound, video to installation, craft to performance, and installation, Cave is singular in his approach to sculpture and participatory artworks. This year, N+T is honored to bring his vision to Boston and help facilitate his work with Bostonians across different neighborhoods to create a public artwork that fosters joy and helps us confront a social moment fraught with division.  

This new project, Augment, a dynamic and expansive public artwork will blend sculpture, performance, and community-engaged workshops. Created to reflect on moments of shared happiness, the power of community, and collective memory, Augment will create safe spaces for conversations about our differences and our shared values.

I think that even within the train wreck of it all, we still have to find devices, mechanisms to cope and to exist with one another. So, I’m hoping to utilize the convene, to bring the community together, to talk about difficult things.
— Nick Cave with artists at DS4SI in Upham's Corner

One of the early phases in the artistic process for Augment is doing the work of community engagement. Last Wednesday, Cave joined us along with community partner DS4SI’s Kenneth Bailey, Lori Lobenstine, and Ayako Maruyama, and local artists L’Merchie Frazier, Destiny Polk, and Ekua Holmes. (Missing were Jesse Cardoso and Wilton Tejada.)  Together, we explored the themes of Augment and how it can ratify and amplify the work they and other members of Upham’s Corner are already doing to envision what this newly named “Arts and Innovation District” could be like if it prioritized local cultures, communities, and artists. 

Cave with artists and staff from DS4SI in Upham’s Corner.

Cave with artists and staff from DS4SI in Upham’s Corner.

Nick Cave is no stranger to Massachusetts. His Soundsuits, performative sculptures which combine everyday objects like buttons, fur, and beads sourced from antique markets create second-skin suits that conceal race, gender, and class, were exhibited along freestanding sculptures at the ICA Boston, Feb-May, 2014. In 2017, his characteristic assemblage and sculptural approach were presented in the landmark exhibition Until at Mass MoCA, Oct 2017 - Nov 2017.) Augment builds on these installations and The Let Go at the Park Avenue Armory (2018) which invited the community to “let go” in a town hall turned dance hall.

We invite you to follow along as this work takes shape, a critical transition point for Cave’s practice -- away from the individual-focused, performance-based Soundsuits of the early 1990s and toward a practice embedded in community and communal experiences -- and an unusual chance for Bostonians from different communities and neighborhoods to come together. Join us this summer in celebrating diversity, cultural representation, and shared values across perceived and tangible differences.

Follow the progress of Augment and be the first to get the scoop on all the big milestones and events by signing up for our public art notifications text message list. Just text PUBLICART to 555888 and you’ll be one of the first to hear our next big announcement.


ABOUT NICK CAVE: Cave’s public collections include the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; and the Trapholt Museum, Kolding, Denmark, among others.

Cave has received several prestigious awards including: the Americans for the Arts 2014 Public Art Network Year in Review Award (2014) in recognition of his Grand Central Terminal performance Heard - NY, Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008), Artadia Award (2006), the Joyce Award (2006), Creative Capital Grants (2002, 2004 and 2005), and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001). Cave, who received his MFA at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, is Professor and Chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.