The Chicago-based artist Nick Cave will take over his hometown this spring and summer, with his first career retrospective opening at the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) on 14 May and a just-announced video art projection onto the façade of the enormous theMART building on the Chicago riverfront. The public art display will consist of a remix of his 2011 video Drive-By, which features dancers clad in his iconic and colourful Soundsuits, projected onto the 2.5-acre façade of theMART, a structure in the centre of the city formerly known as the Merchandise Mart, which, when it was completed in 1931, was the largest building in the world.
“The footage created for Drive-By in 2011 marked a flashpoint in my career,” Cave says. “It was work I made in celebration of my Soundsuit editorial in Vogue magazine. I knew it was a powerful moment to share my work and to get it out of gallery spaces and into homes across the world. I saw it as a way to connect with folks unfamiliar with me or even the power of art. So this footage is imbued with that spirit.”
The projections will occur twice nightly from 5 May until 7 September; a pop-up preview of the projection will go on view on 8 April at the city’s Expo Chicago fair. They are being co-presented by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and Art on theMART, the group that since 2018 has overseen programming large-scale digital projections on theMART.
“Nick’s practice is grounded in community, which shares an obvious synergy with our mission as the world’s largest public digital-art projection site,” says Cynthia Noble, Art on theMART’s executive director. “We are delighted to invite Nick, a native Chicagoan, to use Art on theMART as a canvas at a moment in his career when he is receiving recognition across the country.”
Cave’s retrospective at the MCA, Forothermore, will run from 14 May until 22 October. Thereafter a retooled version of the exhibition will travel to the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Cave’s projects for Chicago extend far beyond its central business district. In 2018 he revealed plans to convert a building in the north Chicago neighbourhood of Irving Park into a home, studio and gallery space.