From March 25–31, 2013, a major project by Chicago-based artist Nick Cave will transform Grand Central Terminal with 30 life-size, multicolored horses, peacefully “grazing” and periodically breaking into choreographed movement to the accompaniment of live music. Titled HEARD•NY, the installation-and-performance piece is presented by Creative Time and MTA Arts for Transit on the occasion of the centennial of Grand Central Terminal. It’s Cave’s first public art project in New York City, introducing locals and visitors alike to his wearable mixed-medium sculptures, or “soundsuits,” and turning the busy railway station into a place of surprise and awe.
For HEARD•NY, 60 students from the Ailey School (the official school of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) will don Cave’s soundsuits and perform specially choreographed movements, or “crossings,” at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day. The horses may perform together as a herd, or in smaller groups throughout Grand Central Station. When they aren’t being worn, the soundsuits will be displayed in Vanderbilt Hall of the famed train station, allowing visitors to look more closely at the meticulously crafted horses and providing a “backstage” glimpse of the performance.
Creative Time Chief Curator Nato Thompson notes, “One of the things that makes HEARD•NY so compelling is that it catches people off guard. Coming across these horses is in itself an unusual experience, but it is all the more so in a place as majestic as Grand Central Terminal.”
Drawing on his training as both a visual artist and dancer, Nick Cave works in a wide range of mediums, including sculpture, installation, performance and video. His soundsuits exist as both sculptures in themselves and, when occupied by the body, activated forms, and they reference dress and ritual attire from around the world, responding to the globalization of cultural identity. “My ability to make objects sing lies within the multiple readings of each work,” says the 54-year-old artist.
Artist Sandra Bloodworth notes, “We are excited to partner with Creative Time to bring to the Centennial the work of Nick Cave, an artist we have long admired. Along with the Ailey School students, Nick is creating an ephemeral experience that will be remembered by its audience as an enchanting moment in New York City’s history.”