Housed in Jack Shainman Gallery’s two Chelsea locations, artist Nick Cave’s concurrent exhibitions “Made for Whites by White” and “Rescue,” offer poignant reflections on America’s material history and the troubled meanings embedded within it. “Made for Whites by Whites” explores our culture’s problematic and estranged relationship to the Black memorabilia of the 1900s by re-imagining particularly gruesome touchstones like big-lipped lawn jockeys and Mammie-carvings as eerily precious sculptures. Connected only by the common narrative of found materials, Cave’s Rescue series muddles the line between traditional still-lifes and contemporary sculpture by weaving yard sale finds like porcelain figurines of birds and dogs into large fantastical canvases. Both experiments in re-appropriation, Cave’s work confronts our bizarre disassociations with the past head on by bringing them into the present. Here, the artist explains some of the pieces.
“Made for Whites by White” and “Rescue” are on view through October 11 at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.