When I walked into Vanderbilt Hall to see Nick Cave’s herd of Soundsuit Horses, I immediately felt giddy. For me, Cave’s work is the visual parallel to a cup of Van Leeuwen’s Earl Grey ice cream–immediately gratifying with a hint of the NYC-style of art appreciation that makes our city unique. The work could be viewed in two ways: through twice-daily performances, or as stationary sculptural elements. When I visited, I found the artwork arranged on sawhorses in a grid layout. Even in stationary poses, Cave’s colorfully spotted raffia bodies and textile-veiled noses comprised a herd of animals that were unlike any collection of creatures that I had ever encountered.
While walking among the “beasts” I began to appreciate the artist’s consideration for each work as conveyed by the subtle details Cave adds to each horse. The artist’s use of recycled materials, such as pompoms, brightly woven textiles, reflective objects and crocheted doilies, mirrors the artist’s inspiration which seems to be drawn from a beautiful mix of cultures. By hosting magical ‘crossing times,’ where a duo of dancers wear the puppets and are accompanied by two harpists, Cave ingeniously displays these flowing creatures in an environment that is equally in flux. Ultimately, the exhibit is successful in it’s intent to create a playground of sorts that is inhabited by magical and imaginary creatures.