Nick Cave, HEARD•NY

Lucy Redoglia
Mar 28, 2013 3:28PM

The horse. One of earth's most majestic creatures. Their power, beauty, and grace are tangible in their presence.

Artist Nick Cave is able to capture these qualities with his multicolored "Soundsuits" in his whimsical new project HEARD•NY in collaboration with Creative Time on view now at Grand Central Station. 

Since I first encountered individual suits on various art excursions at Brooklyn Museum, the De Young Museum, and at the Armory Show I've been a huge fan of Cave's work. But it wasn't until Fall 2011 that I was able to see multiple Soundsuits in one room, in concurrent exhibitions at Mary Boone and Jack Shainman galleries in New York. Most notably for me, Shainman had a video of Cave's fur-colored suits playing on the wall, and since it had never occurred to me to Google the artist's performances (duh), it was my first look at the suits in action. I remember the excitement of seeing the physical suits in the gallery and the delight in their movement on the screen.

Finally, last night was my first time seeing a live performance—and what a performance it was! Grand Central Station is as iconic a space as it comes for any New Yorker (or NY transplant), so it was a remarkable experience to see live performance art in such a grand locale.

The crowd buzzed as they looked on at the sculptural horses resting in rows in Vanderbilt Hall. As the performers silently paraded out and began to dress, the hundreds of onlookers hushed—an awed excitement spread around the space. And then the beat of a drum. And a harp. And the horses were in motion, many walking and exhibiting mannerisms as if they were the real animals—albeit shaggy, colorful, fatter versions. And the music quickened, the invigorating rhythm liberating the dancers as they cavorted around the room shaking their costumes in a stunning visual display.

A little boy bounced excitedly atop his father's shoulders and nearly jumped clear off as he was told to "be still or get down." And as the performance came to an end, a few of the horses paraded out into the Grand Concourse amidst the ever-constant stream of commuters. At last, accompanied by Creative Time staff, they filed back in and one stopped to nuzzle the boy still held high, which made my night, and probably his. 

Lucy Redoglia