I’m always thinking about ways of getting the work into the world…[The art] becomes this beacon for the two and a half months that it’s up. This is for the community.— Nick Cave, artist
Geoffrey Baer meets Chicago artist Nick Cave.
What if your canvas was the side of a building that was at one point in history the largest building in the world? Walk along the Chicago Riverwalk at night, and you’ll probably notice a hard-to-miss digital art installation called Art on theMART projected onto the side of the Merchandise Mart. The installations began in 2018. According to Art on theMART, it is “the largest permanent digital art projection in the world;” the theme of the projections changes every so often. Art on theMART sometimes features works by prominent artists or other tips-of-the-hat to local traditions, such as the Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker or the Bud Billiken Parade. In 2022, Art on theMART featured Nick Cave’s Soundsuits, sculptural body suits that Cave made in response to the Rodney King beating by Los Angeles police in 1991. Cave told Geoffrey Baer that he was sitting in Grant Park one day when he noticed twigs on the ground and began collecting them. “This twig made me think about something that was dismissed, discarded,” Cave said. “I took these materials home, then made what I thought was a sculpture, but didn't even think that I could wear it. Then the moment I put it on my body and moved, it made sound.”