“Nick Cave and Jack Cave: The Color Is Fashion Exhibition,” created by Internationally acclaimed multi-disciplinary artist Nick Cave and his brother fashion designer Jack Cave, will bring a once-in-a-lifetime collection of avant-garde and haute couture-inspired fashion to the Roundhouse of the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center in Chicago, Illinois. The exhibition which opens to the public on August 27, 2022, will continue through November 27, 2022, and is in partnership with the MCA Chicago and the groundbreaking retrospective exhibition “NICK CAVE: FOROTHERMORE,” which is currently on view at the MCA until October 2, 2022. This is the first time that these wearable works will be installed publicly and the DuSable is the first museum in the world to ever exhibit Nick Cave’s or Jack Cave’s fashion collections.
ABOVE: Photo by Jack Kolpitcke on Unsplash
“I am thrilled to be sharing my career’s work in my chosen hometown. I don’t take the gravity of this moment for granted,” said Nick Cave. “From the MCA to the DuSable Museum and beyond this community and city-wide project is the realization of a dream that could only happen in Chicago—this way, with this brilliant team and throughout this great city.”
“The Color Is” will consist of 40-45 couture looks and fashion objects created by Nick Cave and Jack Cave and a number of specialty collaborators. All works including head-to-toe garments have been constructed from a wide variety of materials including beads, wire, sequins, recycled textiles and custom prints. The ensembles feature intricate layering that is emblematic of human universality, highlighting intricacy, complexity, color, and uniqueness. According to both Nick and Jack Cave the clothing is genderless, and the more than 400 individual items can be composed into limitless looks, all designed and crafted by the artists.
“The Color Is” also contains an education component which highlights the exhibition themes, references and history through digital animation, film montages, extensive explanatory text and high-resolution still images. There will be some surprise audio visual elements featured in the exhibition as well as on the DuSable Museum website and the Bloomberg Connects app. All objects in the exhibition were created for both “The Color Is” live performance and “The Color Is” exhibition as a companion exhibition of NICK CAVE FOROTHERMORE and are Nick Cave’s most recent body of created work, often referencing work of his retrospective contemporary art archive. The pieces have been created within the past 9 to 12 months.
“I am proud to be able to showcase so many facets of the Black experience through fashion, especially alongside my brother, Nick, “said Jack Cave. “The process of being able to combine both of our individual styles and work them into one fluid exhibit that educates and celebrates everything from sustainability, queer liberation, and Black presence in mainstream high fashion has been an honor.”
“We are thrilled and honored to work with these brilliant artists to exhibit their amazing works of wearable art at the DuSable. This unique exhibit and accompanying educational activities are a prime example of our goals and inspiration for our recent rebranding as both a museum and education center. We recognize the importance of presenting Black artists personal creative journeys as well as the cultural influences that inform their art and sharing that vision with young people and communities from which they came. Nick and Jack Cave’s imperative to bring their work into the heart of the Black community expresses not only their personal philosophy but also the mission of the DuSable. We are also excited to continue our partnership with the MCA in mounting this exhibition during the run of FOROTHERMORE, which allows visitors to experience Nick’s work in both locations and from multiple perspectives –a groundbreaking approach that stems from our strong collaborative partnership,” said Perri Irmer, President and CEO of The DuSable Museum.
“The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center celebrates the multilayered, elements of Black culture that Nick Cave and Jack Cave’s brilliant work is steeped in,” said Danny Dunson, Director of Curatorial Services and Community Partnerships. “Our presentation of The Color Is, positions Nick Cave’s and Jack Cave’s art practices within the heart of Chicago’s African American community. The South Side community represents what continues to inspire both Cave brothers as artists and activists.”
Fashion has been a natural part of the Cave brother’s artistic practice. Growing up with five aunts who sewed, Nick and Jack Cave had an early interest in material culture and construction. The brothers are inspired by the homey-whimsical interiors of their grandparent’s home that contained African American handicraft traditions, such as quilting and crochet. Both Nick and Jack Cave studied fiber arts as undergraduates at the Kansas City Art Institute where they first learned to sew. In the 1980s the brothers would create fashion spectaculars together.
“The Color Is” exhibition has been curated for the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center by Danny Dunson, Director of Curatorial Services and Community Partnerships; fabricated by Martin Giese, Vice President of Exhibitions and Collections and Brenda Liboy, Lead Exhibitions Designer. The exhibition has been in development since 2021 and initially was shown as a live performance at The Art Edge Gala produced and presented by the MCA and held at the historic Daniel Burnham-designed Roundhouse of the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center. “The Color Is” is a companion exhibition to “NICK CAVE: FOROTHERMORE,” a city-wide celebration of the Chicago-based artist.
The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is the nation’s first independent Museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, and study of the history and culture of African Americans and people of African descent. For more information, please visit www.dusablemuseum.org and @dusablemuseum.