November 2017

by DeeGee Lester

Director of Education, The Parthenon

Movement Connection Dancers Anna Kirby and Caty Garrett; Photograph by Danielle Clement

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts offers art-goers a total sensory experience (November 10, 2017 – June 24, 2018) through the unique perspective and creative talents of Chicago-based artist Nick Cave.

At first glance, the sheer vibrancy of color, the playful blend of materials, and resulting aural banquet of Cave’s trademark Sound Suits belie the layers of meaning. A concept originating in his own emotional and artistic response in the wake of the Rodney King beating in L.A. over 25 years ago, these evolving human-shaped sculptures reinforce in the mind of the artist and viewer the often overwhelming “feat” of hard work in building a life and personal success while overcoming prejudice and pursuing social justice.

“On one level [the exhibit] can be enjoyed by people of any age, any educational background, just seeing all of the visual optics, the variety of materials and craftsmanship,” says Katie Delmez, curator of the exhibition. But in creating this immersion experience, Delmez points out, there are “multiple entries for the works.” These can range from reflection of the dreams and aspirations fostered in children, to a deeper dive with playful armor as protection against profiling and labels, or as a safe means for crawling into another skin, exploring other perspectives, and experiencing other realities.

As an extension of this rare, multi-sensory art experience, the Frist offers Extrasensory (through March 25, 2018), a community exhibit inspired by Nick Cave and focusing on the five senses, combining through interactive displays and workshops the efforts of organizations, teaching artists, and over 900 participants.

Nick Cave, Rescue, 2014, Mixed media, including ceramic birds, metal flowers, ceramic basset hound, and vintage settee, 70” x 50” x 40”

Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2015, Mixed media, including synthetic hair, ceramic birds, strung beads, wire, metal, and mannequin, 108” x 43” x 40”
















A public performance to close out the Frist Center’s Free Family Festival Day (November 12) features the creative contribution of artists from Borderless Arts Tennessee (formerly VSA TN), the state organization on arts and disabilities. Music for the performance will be provided by award winners from the Young Soloist Program, including Tyler Samuel, Drew Basham, Allie Hemmings, and Gregory Price Stallings under the artistic direction of Kristen Freeman of the Nashville Symphony. The program features the Movement Connection Dancers (directed by Danielle Clement and Nashville Ballet choreographer Shabaz Ujima) performing in Nick Cave- inspired costumes created by Austin King, Hope McKee, and Tori Summers of Teapot Diplomats (Nashville Arts Magazine, July 2017). Special thanks to the Tennessee Arts Commission for grants funding this performance.

“The aspects I have loved about this project are how many hands have already touched these costumes in the creation process and also the limitless creating that Nick Cave’s work can inspire,” says Dee Kimbrell, education play specialist for Borderless Arts Tennessee. “The collaborative efforts of so many and watching the artists enjoy working with the unique decorations have made this project a blast to facilitate.”

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