“Nick Cave: Here Hear” to Open at Cranbrook Art Museum on June 20


Museum Exhibition and Performance Series Run Through October

Bloomfield Hills, Mich., May 28, 2015 – The stage is being set for Nick Cave’s most ambitious project to date – Nick Cave: Here Hear. The exhibition will open at Cranbrook Art Museum on Saturday, June 20, with a special ArtMembers’ Opening Reception on Friday, June 19. A media preview of the exhibition will be held on June 18 from 10am-noon.

The celebration will continue through the weekend, with a special performance in Detroit’s Brightmoor and Old Redford communities on Sunday, June 21. Join us at 2pm for a screening of Cave’s video work at the historic Redford Theatre, followed by a celebration from 3-6pm at The Artist Village featuring food, music, and dancers in soundsuits – who will join the party in an impromptu flash mob. Both events are free and open to the public.

The Brightmoor celebration is just one of several events Cave is staging over the course of seven months throughout metro Detroit. The performance series kicked off last month when Cave began “invading” the city of Detroit for a series of site-specific photo shoots. He was spotted at locations such as Eastern Market, the Dequindre Cut, the African Bead Museum, and many more. The photos will be published in the forthcoming book, Nick Cave: Greetings From Detroit, which will be available for purchase at Cranbrook Art Museum. The book is designed by Bob Faust, with photographs by Corine Vermeulen and an essay by Laura Mott.

The Exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum

The exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum will begin in the Main Gallery with a collection of approximately 30 sculptural soundsuits, 11 of which are new and on display for the first time. The Museum’s North Gallery is devoted to a newly commissioned installation of nine black and white soundsuits surrounded by a new wall-based tapestry inspired by Cave’s childhood watching the night sky. An additional gallery will feature a selection of his recent wall-based artwork and sculpture, including a new work inspired by Trayvon Martin. Finally, the “Map in Action” room will serve as a hub for the Detroit Performance Series and display the wearable soundsuits that will come and go to performances throughout the city of Detroit. Video footage of the performances will be added to the room throughout the duration of the show, thereby becoming a living document of the entire project. The exhibition is curated by Laura Mott, Curator of Contemporary Art and Design at Cranbrook Art Museum.

The Performance Series

This exhibition is Cave’s first solo exhibition in the state of Michigan, and for him, it was critical to involve the city of Detroit in the project. Cave is a 1989 graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, and he has said the time he spent in Detroit was critical to his growth as an artist. “My goal,” says the artist, “is to work with those who live in and love the city, and to reimagine Detroit as an always-surprising environment of creativity, excitement, and engagement. My dreams for the city are big, because I believe it is important for Detroit to be dreaming ambitiously at this moment about its own future.”

Cave will be using his time in Detroit to engage the area in a philosophy he calls “collective dreaming.”

This will be Cave’s largest performance series to date. He will design Dance Labs in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD); work with LBGTQ young adults from the Ruth Ellis Center in Highland Park to create the performance Up Right Detroit; and work with students from the Detroit School of Arts and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy for Heard•Detroit, a procession of 30 life-size horse sculptures operated by 60 high school dancers that will parade along Detroit’s riverfront on Saturday, September 26. Cave’s project will culminate at the end of the exhibition in October, when the artist will stage Figure This: Detroit, a massive public performance at Detroit’s Masonic Temple on Sunday, October 4.

This project has attracted a wide variety of sponsors and community partners who are eager to share Cranbrook Art Museum’s desire to spread creative positivity throughout Detroit. The Presenting Sponsors are the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

The Knight Foundation, through their Knight Arts Challenge Detroit initiative, looks to fund ideas that engage and enrich Detroit through the arts. Cranbrook Art Museum received a matching grant of $150,000 from the Knight Foundation to kick-off this ambitious project. According to Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation, “Detroit’s future is being driven by the cultural creatives who have big ideas for their city. It’s an honor to help bring visual artist Nick Cave back to the Michigan, to engage many more people in thinking creatively about their lives, their neighborhoods, their Detroit.”

The Ford Foundation also understands the impact of the creative sector on the city’s restoration. “The creative sector is playing a significant role in the revitalization of the city of Detroit and the power of Nick Cave’s work to transform those who interact with it is limitless,” said Hilary Pennington, Vice President of Education, Creativity and Free Expression at the Ford Foundation. “We believe in The Art of Change to create economies of empathy and build movements on the path to social justice, especially in Detroit.”

Leadership Sponsors include Quicken Loans with their Opportunity Detroit mission and The Kresge Foundation. The Major Sponsor is The Taubman Foundation. Supporting Sponsors include Strategic Staffing Solutions, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Masco Corporation Foundation, Maggie and Bob Allesee, and the Jack Shainman Gallery. Community Partners include the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, the Ruth Ellis Center, Detroit School of Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), and Detroit Public Television.

The ambitious 2015 schedule of events for Nick Cave: Here Hear, includes:

June 19
Nick Cave: Here Hear ArtMembers’ Opening Reception at Cranbrook Art Museum. Memberships may be purchased in advance via our website or at the front desk the evening of the event.
June 20
Nick Cave: Here Hear opens to the public at Cranbrook Art Museum
June 21
A screening of Cave’s video work at the historic Redford Theatre, followed by a celebration at The Artist Village, engaging the Brightmoor, Old Redford and Northwest Detroit communities. Free and open to the public.
July Up Right: Detroit. Nick Cave will create a new film featuring a performance with participants from the Ruth Ellis Center. Conceived by Cave as an “act of initiation” and a preparation of the mind, body, spirit, and selfhood, a group of African-American men will undergo a ritual of being costumed in elaborate soundsuits, before they reenter the city, transformed. The new film will premiere at Cranbrook in September.
July/August: Cranbrook Art Museum will partner with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) to present three Dance Labs designed by Nick Cave. He will pair three local dance companies with three groups of musicians to create their own choreographed works with his extraordinary soundsuits. The free public performances will be staged at the following locations:

Sunday, July 19, 4pm
The Ruth Ellis Center
77 Victor St
Highland Park, MI 48203

Sunday, July 26, 4pm
The Dequindre Cut
A below-street level path that runs parallel to St. Aubin Street, between Mack Avenue and Woodbridge Street just north of the riverfront in Detroit.

Friday, July 31, 6:30-7:30pm
Campus Martius
800 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226

Sept. 26
As a continuation of his renowned performance series, Nick Cave will present Heard•Detroit as a partnership between Cranbrook Art Museum, the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and the Detroit School of Arts. The project will feature a procession of as many as 30 life-size horse sculptures operated by 60 high-school dancers along the Detroit riverfront. A dreamlike vision that stops everyday life for a collective transformative moment, Heard•Detroit will be performed by talented dancers and musicians attending the Detroit School of Arts, one of four magnet schools in the Detroit Public School system. The performance along the riverfront will be free and open to the public. Meet at Milliken State Park (near the hill), and across from the Outdoor Adventure Center. Rain date is September 27 (time TBD).
October 4
The culmination of the project will be Figure This: Detroit, a large-scale performance comprised of the dances and music from the Dance Labs, a presentation by children of their Cave-inspired creations, and be the live performance premiere of the artist’s new artwork Up Right: Detroit. This final performance will be staged in Detroit’s Masonic Temple for an audience of hundreds. Tickets for this free event will be available through Cranbrook Art Museum. Details will be posted on our website later this summer.

Follow the project on our website: Nick Cave: Here Hear.

For high-resolution images, visit this link: http://www.cranbrookart.edu/museum/nickcave/media-images/

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you plan to attend the media preview on June 18, from 10am – noon, please contact:

Julie Fracker
Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum

Chicago: On Beans and Dumplings

Sighter: Chad Alligood
Sighted: Jun Kaneko, Dango sculptures
Location: Millennium Park, Chicago, IL
Date:  May 26, 2013

I spent the recent Memorial Day holiday in the Chicago area, seeing several awesome things for the first time: the Bean, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, and the Art Institute of Chicago among many others. As I traipsed through Millennium Park on my way to the AIC, frankly giddy at the prospect of viewing Grant Wood’s American Gothic, I stopped cold in my tracks, captivated by a series of large-scale ceramic sculptures that looked vaguely like giant ice-cream pops.

Thinking that perhaps these were the work of famed Cranbrook alum Toshiko Takaezu, I hopped the metal barrier to snap a couple of pictures (the open-air exhibition was closed that day for some reason; in the far distance of the image above, you can see the figure of the guard who yelled at me). The surfaces of the ceramic forms undulated with repeating pattern and variegated glazing. They were—in a word—scrumptious.

As I approached the sculpture—and before I was shooed away by the guard—I read on the exhibition placard that the work was not by Takaezu, but rather by another Cranbrook ceramic artist of note: Jun Kaneko, who served as Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Department of Ceramics from 1979 until 1986. Kaneko’s work often uses pattern, repetition, and surface painting to achieve effects that imply conceptual endlessness. The artist calls these outsized sculptural works Dango, meaning “dumpling” or “rounded form” in Japanese. Such an idiom positions Kaneko in a long line of ceramic artists at Cranbrook who pushed the medium to new heights of sculptural achievement, from Maija Grotell to Takaezu and continuing through to current Artist-in-Residence Anders Ruhwald, whose exhibition in Saarinen House is now on view. Kaneko’s alien-yet-familiar forms, echoing both the organic line of the Bean and the repetition of the Chicago architecture, reminded me once again that even far afield, Cranbrook’s always just around the corner.

Posted by Chad Alligood
2012-13 Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow

Getting “T-Square” All Square

Sighter: Chad Alligood
Sighted: Tony Rosenthal, T-Square, 1975-76
Location: Detroit, MI
Date:  September 24, 2012

Monday morning, 9 a.m. On a typical Monday at this time, I’m settling in to my sweet Knoll-designed desk in our newly-renovated office space at the museum. “Settling in” for me means checking my calendar and email, guzzling Diet Coke, and chowing down on granola bars. But this is no typical Monday: I stepped out of the car with my three museum colleagues into a gritty, industrial corridor on Detroit’s East Side—worlds away from the meticulously manicured lawns and bubbling fountains of Cranbrook’s campus.

This is the setting for Venus Bronze Works, a local firm specializing in the conservation and restoration of outdoor sculpture. Giorgio Gikas, the founder and president of Venus, met us in his massive, hangar-like space to examine and discuss his ongoing conservation of T-Square (1975-1976), a large-scale outdoor steel sculpture by Tony Rosenthal (1914-2009) in the museum’s collection. Works of art that are situated outdoors present their own unique challenges of preservation, and T-Square is no exception: after decades of sitting directly on those aforementioned manicured lawns, the massive sculpture plainly begged for restoration and repair. Years of exposure to rain and snow had caused some elements to rust through, threatening the work’s long-term stability and preservation. Of course, Rosenthal anticipated that his outdoor steel sculptures would develop a layer of rust as they aged. In fact, these installation photographs from the object file show a lovely orange oxidation over the surface of the object in 1978—just two years after its completion!

But by the middle of the 2000s, the deterioration of the steel at the sculpture’s base had begun to compromise its structural viability. In 2004, Gregory Wittkopp, Director of Cranbrook Art Museum, contacted Rosenthal to discuss best practices for conservation and preservation of his outdoor sculpture. The artist recommended a number of steps to conserve the work, including repair of the steel tubes followed by sandblasting, priming, and painting with industrial epoxy coating to preserve the steel. Enter Giorgio, a highly skilled sculptural conservator with over 25 years of experience, and voila—we have the first step in a repaired T-Square.

So far, Giorgio has refabricated interior brackets that had rusted through and reinforced the interior sidewall and other portions of the steel tubing. The next step: sandblasting the weathered surface so that the sealant can adhere. When all is said and done, T-Square can triumphantly return from Giorgio’s workshop—30-odd miles away—back to its home at Cranbrook, where it will rest atop a newly-poured concrete pad to protect it from pooling moisture. One of the potential sites for the sculpture is just outside my window here at the museum…perhaps one Monday morning at 9 a.m. in the not-too-distant future, I can look out my window with a mouth full of granola and smile, knowing that T-Square is in better shape than ever.

Posted by Chad Alligood
2012-13 Jeanne and Ralph Graham Collections Fellow