It was standing room only Thursday night for the start of UNC Greensboro’s 2019-20 University Concert and Lecture Series (UCLS).

Renowned visual artist Nick Cave kicked off the yearlong event series with a lecture to a packed house of students, faculty, staff, and community members at Elliott University Center Auditorium.

Cave works through a wide range of media, including sculpture, installation, video, sound, and performance. Drawing on his dance training with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as well as his study of fiber arts at the Kansas City Art Institute, Cave is best known for his “Soundsuits” – vibrant, wearable sculptures in which he and others perform.

One of Cave’s Soundsuits is currently on display at the Weatherspoon Art Museum as part of the exhibition “Here We Are: Painting and Sculpting the Human Form.”

During the lecture, Cave talked about his desire to use art as a vehicle for change. He creates art in response to what is going on in the world, and often works with underserved communities.

The Soundsuits in particular have had a profound impact on Cave and his career, as well as the individuals who have worn the suits as part of Cave’s performance art.

“Identity, gender, class – everything is sort of no longer relevant at that moment,” said Cave, explaining what it feels like for people to wear the suits.

Photo of Nick Cave talking to students.

Nick Cave speaks with students during a lunch Q&A session.

Earlier in the day, Cave had lunch with undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Department of Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies. He talked about his childhood, his work, and how his practice has evolved over the years.

“Nick Cave is an exciting artist to have on campus because his work is invested in so many different disciplines – sculpture, fashion, dance, costume, music,” said Dr. Emily Stamey, curator of exhibitions at the Weatherspoon Art Museum and a faculty member in the School of Art. “Simultaneously, his work addresses critical themes of social justice that are relevant to us all.”

The event was organized by the Weatherspoon Art Museum and co-sponsored by UNCG’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, School of Art, and Department of Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies.

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, UCLS will continue with a performance by piano duo Anderson & Roe. To purchase tickets, and to view the full UCLS schedule, visit ucls.uncg.edu.

 

Story by Alyssa Bedrosian and Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications