'Soundsuits' on display at UCLA combine texture and noise

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The Independent Culture

The Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles, will present the exhibition, Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth, featuring 35 of the fiber/textile artist's "Soundsuits," January 10-May 30, 2010.

Part fashion and part sculpture, this is the largest assembly of Cave's "Soundsuits," multi-layered, mixed-media works named for sounds they make when worn and performed. Evoking African, Caribbean and ceremonial costumes, as well as haute couture, themes of ritual and myth are woven into the design. Salvaged materials from nature and culture are used, such as yarn, bottle caps, toys, iron, twigs, leaves, and hair to amusing and surprising effect, especially in movement.

"I don't see myself as an artist but as a humanitarian using art to create change. My hope is that these new Soundsuits will cause people to find ways to live with each other, extend our compassion to other communities, and take care of our natural resources," said Cave, who is chair of the fashion program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was also a dancer with the Alvin Ailey company.

The solo show reflects the museum's ethnographic collections and interdisciplinary international work, including the use of animal totems. The Fowler Museum will partner with dancers and choreographers at UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures for a series of "performance-interventions" of Cave's ‘Soundsuit Invasions' around Los Angeles to animate the more wearable works. Locations will be announced via the Fowler's Twitter (www.twitter.com/FowlerMuseum) and Facebook (www.Facebook.com/FowlerMuseum accounts).

The exhibition, organized by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, travels to the Seattle Art Museum in 2011.