Nick Cave’s Soundsuits displayed in the Jack Shainman Gallery. These things are frickin’ awesome! He built his first suit in response to the 1991 Rodney King beating by Las Angeles police officers. His suits represent protest, defense, aggression, and transformation of the human form. Most of his materials are scavenged from thrift stores and flea markets. Nick Cave also trained as a dancer in Alvin Ailey programs in Kansas City and NYC. (photo set 2)
Embracing a variety of media – principally photography, but also drawing, animation, performance and sculpture – the work of Robin Rhode uses simple, ephemeral devices (soap, charcoal, paint and chalk) to comment on urban youth culture, colonialism and socio-economic issues in a simple, witty and subtly effective way. His work often uses the street as his canvas or his backdrop, alluding to hip-hop and the role of the graffiti artist, and he often operates within the gritty aesthetic associated with that culture.
Rhode’s work, however transient it may seem, involves creating a kind of narrative that contains several stages of erasure and redrawing with the trace of his actions remaining visible throughout. There is also a pervasive mood of failure, while his persistent gestures toward ludicrous and apparently unachievable goals are as poignant as they are humorous. Rhode draws a skipping rope and cajoles a room of people to engage in a game of Double-Dutch with him, or he plays an upside-down game of snooker that only he can win – the challenger is absent and the game defies logic and gravity. For another work, Rhode fashioned a bike out of soap, rendering the object comically futile. While his work calls to mind early silent film, stop-start animation and flip books, Rhode’s alter ego – a recurring feature – evokes a character from nineteenth and early twentieth-century American minstrel shows and the exploits of Buster Keaton. Rhode’s practice straddles both the recent past, when one only needed a ball or a yo-yo in your pocket for amusement, and the constant, overwhelming stimuli of the present day.