Cultural Crossroads: The Art of Diplomacy at the United Nations

Posted by Virginia Shore
September 13, 2010
Detail of Nick Cave Artwork on Display at USUN Mission in New York

About the Author: Virginia Shore serves as Chief Curator for ART in EMBASSIES.

The United Nations General Assembly convenes tomorrow, September 14, and marks the tenth year of "The International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for Children of the World." In recognition of the occasion, we note the art of Nick Cave, whose work appears in the ART in EMBASSIES exhibition currently installed at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (USUN) in New York.

Through his exquisitely crafted monumental sculptures and canvases, Cave strives to explore cultural and historical identities both within himself and beyond: "My ability to make objects come alive is also a testament to my ability to have things resonate with their past history and usages alongside my personal though usually opaque meanings. I want my work to open up vistas to many cultures (including our own), explore a wide range of materials and formal approached, and look inwardly as it examines personal and cultural identity in relation to the world."

Cave teaches and works with children. He says he aims to provide them "with the knowledge that their art making holds the possibility for acting as a vehicle for change on a larger, global scale." His multi-layered, mixed-media two- and three-dimensional works often include children's toys. As someone who uses highly textured layers of sequined materials, plastic, fabric, and found objects, he is a self-described "recycler of material and cultural artifacts." Through his use of textiles and clothing as conceptual modes of expression, he elicits questions about the human condition in the social and political realm.

Cave is Associate Professor and Chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Solo exhibitions include the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Jack Shainman Gallery, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.

"My only concern around my work is making sure that my art continues to reach a broader community," Cave says. His inclusion in ART in EMBASSIES puts him directly in the midst of the world-at-large.

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