As a way to bring the energy and impetus of Nick Cave’s artwork outside of traditional museum walls, Cave, in collaboration with his design partner Bob Faust, have created nine unique patterns that pair in various ways to result in sixteen floors of Wallworks. Installed in the elevator lobbies on floors 2-17, each is a diptych of two complimentary patterns that are designed from individual detail photos from Cave’s iconic Soundsuits and Tondos. Each photo was chosen for formal reasons, such as color and composition, but also to showcase the variety of materials Cave uses throughout his work, such as synthetic hair, sequined fabric, buttons, wire, and vintage toile. The patterns themselves are designed to convey the performative aspects of Cave’s practice, which are difficult to capture in still photography.
When tasked with activating the elevator lobbies throughout 21c Chicago, Cave and Faust quickly conceived of each landing as part of a portal system to define and make memorable each embarkation and debarkation.
“These mini-installations envelope you with good juju. The relationship of pattern and scale to the architectural and compressed space is no accident, it’s an offering.” — Bob Faust
“I like the energy we can get from the remixing process that this work requires. I have to let go of the direct connection to the original work and embrace the role a simple detail can make for itself.” — Nick Cave
Cave’s celebrated Soundsuits are hybrid artworks typically made from objects and materials found in antique shops and flea markets. The artist, who trained as a dancer through the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and now directs the fashion graduate program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has featured his complex, kaleidoscopically colorful works in solo and group movement performances, and displayed them as objects in exhibitions. The visually vibrant and tactile Soundsuits were first conceived as a message of protest against racial violence.
The Tondos series are round wall sculptures made with wire, in which swirling cacophonies of colors are created from the layered mapping of cataclysmic weather patterns superimposed onto brain scans of black youth suffering from PTSD as a result of gun violence. While Cave’s works are rooted in our current societal moment when progress on issues of global warming, racism, and gun violence has seemed to stall, he asks how we may reposition ourselves to recognize the issues, come together on a global scale, instigate change, and ultimately, heal.
“Nick Cave is the most joyful, and critical, artist in America”—New York Times T Magazine
About the artists:
Nick Cave is an artist, educator and foremost a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance. He serves as director of the graduate fashion program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Cave’s multi-media artworks and performances have been presented at museums and in public spaces all over the world. Cave’s work is part of many public collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the High Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Orlando Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, among others.
Bob Faust is the principal and creative director for Faust, a cultural branding and communications studio operating at the intersection of art and design that results in absorptive visual experiences based in Chicago. His collaborative and non-secular approach to his work results in functionally expressive visual experiences that inspire change and instigate tangible actions. He has been recognized as a design leader nationally and internationally. As well as an artist in his own right, Faust is also the studio/special projects director for artist Nick Cave, where he both collaborates on exhibition design as well as produces Cave’s performance works.
Facility is a place. It’s a multi-disciplinary creative space. And it is home to Cave Studio, Faust Associates, and $oundsuit$hop, while also serving as a creative hub for other artists, artisans, designers and architects. Additionally, Facility plays host to myriad pop-up special projects such as exhibitions, performances and fresh retail experiences.
Facility is a philosophy. It believes that art and design can create peace, build power, and change the world … that by fostering an environment and community built from your dreams you will wake up daily within your destiny.
Facility is an action agent. It reaches deep into our communities, employing the collective powers of art and design as a means to empowerment and social change. Facility Foundation provides scholarships and opportunities for young, promising and emerging artists, collaborations with fierce, like-minded established artists and partnering with outside, organizations and institutions to galvanize their outreach programming.
Nick Cave and Bob Faust (Chicago), Wallworks, 2020, vinyl