September 26, 2012 - AMOA-Arthouse - Nick Cave and Andy Coolquitt
September 26, 2012

Nick Cave and Andy Coolquitt

Left: Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2011. Mixed media, 109 x 34 x 30 inches. Right: Andy Coolquitt, this vitrine don’t work, 2012. Tennis balls, steel, plastic, wood, light bulbs, duct tape, carpet, fiberglass, bronze & steel cable, 144 x 36.5 x 31.5 inches.

Nick Cave: Hiding in Plain Sight
Andy Coolquitt: Attainable Excellence
September 29–December 30, 2012

AMOA-Arthouse at the Jones Center
700 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701

AMOA-Arthouse is proud to announce its roster of fall exhibitions at the museum’s downtown Jones Center location. On view September 29–December 30, 2012 are Nick Cave: Hiding in Plain Sight, an exhibition of recent work by Chicago’s celebrated visual and performance artist, and andy coolquitt: attainable excellence, the Texas artist’s solo museum debut organized by the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston.

Best known for his hybrid work interweaving artistic traditions from around the world, Nick Cave creates art that explores spectacle, ritual, movement, and sound. Nick Cave: Hiding in Plain Sight includes ten artworks made within the last five years: seven “Soundsuits,” wearable fabric assemblages fashioned out of found materials ranging from sequins and beads to toys and twigs; two video pieces; and one wall sculpture. At once playfully whimsical and uncannily menacing, the faceless suits borrow aesthetic cues from African ceremonial costumes, Mardi Gras dress, southeast Asian embroidery, Haitian flags, and drag culture.

Initially created in response to social injustices and racial profiling, Cave’s Soundsuits are more than mere parade; they are vehicles for spiritual power and global change. What is communicated through movement and rhythm when the Soundsuit is worn is as much of interest to Cave—a former dancer with the celebrated Alvin Ailey Dance Company­—as are the Soundsuit’s multicultural visual inspirations. Transforming those who don the suits into larger-than-life anonymous figures, the Soundsuits call upon performers to lose themselves in fantasy and imagination in order to find hope and empowerment in the world we inhabit. The two videos that accompany the sculpture included in Nick Cave: Hiding in Plain Sight demonstrate such performances in action, “making the objects come alive.” Nick Cave: Hiding in Plain Sight has been organized by AMOA-Arthouse and is curated by Andrea Mellard, curator of exhibitions and public programs.

Since 1988, Andy Coolquitt has been interested in the collection, study, and reuse of objects found in the vicinity of his home or studio to create works that facilitate conversation about the social dynamics and energies that define and shape temporary encounters and transient existences in the public sphere. Coolquitt scavenges the streets for remnants of human activity and transforms debris such as metal tubing, plastic lighters, empty bottles, drinking straws, and paper bags into sculptures and installations that are humble monuments to lives led in the streets. While his materials are drawn from the world outside and allude to conditions of homelessness, Coolquitt often employs them to create situations of interiority and recomposes them into individual works or groupings that imply a sense of domesticity.

For andy coolquitt: attainable excellence, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition, Coolquitt will recombine 60 discrete sculptures and tableaux made between 2006 and 2011 into a site-specific installation which, in its singularity and temporariness, reflects on the condition of the gallery space as a codified place of encounter for people and works of art. The exhibition will also include pieces that occupy a hybrid position between autonomous artworks by Coolquitt and what the artist calls somebody-mades and in-betweens. Somebody-mades are assemblages of objects that are presented just as the artist found them in the streets, while in-betweens combine such found assemblages with interventions of his own. Presented alongside and interspersed with his own work, these elements serve to further complicate the relationship between the contexts of creation and reception, artist and audience, and blur the boundaries between art and life.

A fully-illustrated monograph will accompany andy coolquitt: attainable excellence and is co-published by Blaffer Art Museum and University of Texas Press with contributions by Rachel Hooper, Dan Fox, Matthew Higgs, and Jan Tumlir. Support for the publication is in part provided by Lisa Cooley. The exhibition is made possible in part by the Cecil Amelia Blaffer von Furstenberg Endowment for Exhibitions and Programs, Houston Endowment Inc., and Nayla Hadchiti.

*Image above:
Left: Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2011. Mixed media, 109 x 34 x 30 inches. Courtesy of Nick Cave and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, Photograph: James Prinz Photography, Chicago.
Right: Andy Coolquitt, this vitrine don’t work, 2012. Tennis balls, steel, plastic, wood, light bulbs, duct tape, carpet, fiberglass, bronze & steel cable, 144 x 36.5 x 31.5 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Lisa Cooley, New York. Photo: Ben Aqua.


Nick Cave and Andy Coolquitt at AMOA-Arthouse
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