‘An artist with a civic responsibility’: Nick Cave
by Sherry Lucas
Eye-popping colors and rich, captivating textures grab attention first in Nick Cave’s art, but stories and inspirations behind works addressing social justice will linger long after his exhibition’s end date.
“Nick Cave: Feat.” at the Mississippi Museum of Art through Feb. 16 is a traveling exhibition of 17 works by the Chicago-based contemporary artist. The survey of his work includes sculpture, video and installations, for both a wide grasp and an immersive introduction to Cave’s art and the materials he uses to create it — buttons, beads, bamboo, baskets and even a vintage Easter bunny among them.
Cave was recently picked by The New York Times Style Magazine as one of “The Greats” — a talent who mastered his craft and changed the field, as well as the culture at large. For an artist who considers himself a messenger first, artist second and teacher third, the recognition left him humbled and pleased, he says. But, fame is not the aim.
“I’ve never really allowed any of that kind of exposure to get in the way of my real work,” Cave says. “I’m an artist with a civic responsibility.”