Sunday, May 07, 2006

Nick Cave at the Cultural Center

Back in the olden days (i.e. every world civlization prior to 1950) the arts (of making whatever) were passed from master to student --- but I think the contemporary art school has reversed this process -- where the master is not especially making anything that the student (or the broader society) considers important -- but he is essentially an educational professional -- with a career that rests upon the personal needs of the student --- which is basically that class of young people who are not ready to choose a real career and become adults.

That's my explanation, anyway, for the 'acting out' genre of art -- things that express an adolescent's rejection of the modern world -- like the "sound suits" of Nick Cave, chair of the Fashion Design department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The "sound suits" are costumes made of trash (most of which nobody can really wear) that represent how it feels to walk the streets as a minority in America -- i.e. to appear strange/unwanted/alien --- and adolescent.

But Nick also made two enormous (15 foot high) flat discs of sequin-covered cloth --- that seem to deserve the word 'magnificent' --- something appropriate for a powerful, if barbaric, royal court.

It's impossible for these little images to present the impact of these things hanging from the 30-foot ceilings that they require --- they're awesome -- and glitter of the million sequins is not photographable -- they appear three-dimensional -- the eye cannot establish a plane among all that glittering.

But maybe you can get some idea of the design -- which is magical -- and seems to elude understanding.

It's the perfect display for a waiting room -- where those who must wait -- can spend forever looking into them.


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