Body – Feature

Paper – Feature

Fun – Feature


Wholesale opportunities now available

Put SoundSuitShop in your own shop

Don't miss us at the Museum Store Association Conference in Booth 437. We will launching a over 20 new products that matter. If you are interested carrying our line in your store please send your wholesale request to

SSS is currently carried at: Seattle Art Museum, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

News + Events – Posted on April 11, 2011

Sheridan Road, April/May 2011

Nick Cave has been making Soundsuits for nearly 20 years, and though they've been lauded in the art world, their spread in Vogue's September Issue secured Cave a whole new brand of recognition.

Exhibitions – Posted on March 30, 2011

Seattle Art Museum, March 2011

“Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth is an invitation by the artist to break free from the confines of our daily life and travel to a place in which imagination is unencumbered,” said SAM’s Pamela McClusky, Curator of African and Oceanic Art. “Nick Cave is an extraordinary artist whose work is a true confluence of art, movement and sound that is impossible to resist.”

Shop Talk – Posted on April 1, 2011

SoundSuitShop | SAM

After leading you through a magical, mystical, fantastic journey, interwoven with nostalgia, memory, and the transformative, Meet Me at the Center of the Earth culminates with SoundSuitShop | SAM, an immersive shopping experience in the last gallery of the exhibition.

@SoundSuitShop on Twitter


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About the Company

Surface and Soul

SoundSuitShop was created to share the art of Nick Cave with a wider audience than his exhibitions can possibly reach. These simple, practical items transport Nick’s richly patterned, highly conceptual Soundsuits into the realm of everyday life. The quality and ingenuity of every SoundSuitShop item make them easy to wear, share or simply enjoy. Expect every SoundSuitShop product to spark thought, conversation and even pure wonder. Each product has been carefully sourced and designed to outperform other products in its category. As Nick's work evolves, so does SoundSuitShop’s selection. Product quantities will be limited to a single production run; we hate to disappoint, so please order early.

Sign Ups and Credits

Get in Touch and Keep in Touch

Contact regarding any wholesale requests.

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Design by Faust Associates
Development by  Cartel Blanche
Photos by James Prinz

Nick Cave


As both artist and partner, Nick is the vision of all things "Soundsuit". He is also the Chairman of the Fashion Department at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. Nick is a trans-artist working between sculpture, installation, performance, video, designed object and fashion. His work is shown nationally and internationally and is very interested in using his work as a impetus for outreach in the community at large.

Bob Faust


As partner and design director, Bob both designs and develops all SoundSuitShop products. He is also the founder and creative director of Faust Associates, a design and branding firm in Chicago with clients such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Four Seasons Hotels, Playboy Enterprises and McDonald’s Corporation. He has been recognized as a design leader by many prestigious publications and organizations and has recently served as sponsorship chair for AIGA, the professional association for design, and is currently a member of the School of the Art Institute’s Fashion Committee.


Upcoming Events

Meet Me at the Center of the Earth

Soundsuitshop SAM pop-up shop
Seattle Art Museum

March 8, 2011 – June 5, 2011

Conversation with Cynthia Rowley

Seattle Art Museum

March 30, 2011

Pictoplasma Conference

Berlin, Germany

April 8, 2011

Moorehead University
Moorehead, Kentucky
April 14, 2011

Public Parade

Residency Project with University of Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee
April 23, 2011


Museum of Contemporary Art
Chicago, Illinois

June 18 – October 16, 2011


Smart Museum of Art

Chicago, Illinois

June 29th – September 2011

Meet Me at the Center of the Earth

Taubman Art Museum
Roanoke, Virginia
August 2011 – January 2012

Concurrent Exhibitions
Mary Boone Gallery and Jack Shainman Gallery
New York, New York

Sept 8, 2011 – October 8, 2011


Weatherspoon Art Museum
Greensboro, North Carolina

September 17 – December 11, 2011


Prospect 2

New Orleans, Louisiana
October 2011 – December 2011

Meet Me at the Center of the Earth
Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati, Ohio
January 2012 – April 2012

Meet Me at the Center of the Earth
Boise Art Museum

Boise, Idaho

May 19 – September 23, 2012

News – Posted on July 18, 2009

Ponytail, Summer 2009

By Alissa Bennet

The beauty of artist Nick Cave's work is paralytic; discarded objects (both physically and historically) are transformed into absolute spectacle, glamorous and glittering monuments to the desire of the gaze. Some of his works, like the Soundsuits for which he is most known for, are literally kinetic when activated by the wearer (generally Cave himself). These works are constructed alternately of found objects such as twigs and bottle caps, or of psychedelically dyed human hair, and when the works are put on a body, they emit a sound specific to the material from which they are made. The Soundsuits shake and sway, blur and undulate, they swish and rattle in an ebullient celebration of vision and sound. Other works, specifically those constructed out of the readymade relics of America's romance with racism, offer themselves in static over-abundance: a lawn jockey balances what we can only interpret to be a slave ship on out stretched arms, a cross constructed in the form of a knick-knack shelve holds the same commercially produced Sambo doll on each of its receptacles in a visual reproduction of an echo. The commonality of all of Cave's sculptures is that each retains the ability to offer a particular sort of visual pleasure that accesses a deeper and much more sinister channel of narrative; Cave's utilization of the tropes of beauty is simply a means of immediate engagement, a way to stall viewers long enough to confront them with notions of alienation, socio-historical persecution, and a very personal request on Cave's part that we reconsider the absolute violence of history in order to conceive of a contemporary antidote for it.

Cave suggests that the Soundsuits in particular offer the spectator the opportunity to experience what he refers to as "a dream state," an encounter with a living and moving object dramatically othered from anything that can be located in reality. The Suits, which conceal the faces of their wearers and replace identity with something in between the nightmarish and the sublime, activate our desire for the spectacle while at the same time referencing the social and cultural constructs endemic to the horrors of American history. These works conflate the aesthetics of celebration with our notions of anxiety by simultaneously referencing the child-like desire to witness something magical with hegemonic concepts of race and racism. Many of the Suits are reminiscent simultaneously of the KKK robe and African tribal masquerade costumes, and as such they act as a flash point for the notion of the uncanny. They appear familiar to us not only because we are able to engage with them in a purely aesthetic sense, but likewise because they embody our fears of The Mystical Savage, the uncontrolled and uncontrollable.

The Suits that are constructed from hair are perhaps the most immediately legible; they are the literalization of the relationship between commodity and the body and as such offer us a confrontational interpretation of the relationship between race and labor: in short, the individual can and will be reduced to his physical potential for production, and in no means is this more clear than in the commodification of harvested of body parts. Slavery and the lingering racial stereotypes it left behind animalize the African American by reducing him to the capabilities of his body, and The Soundsuits work to exploit and reconfigure this relationship both conceptually and literally.

Concepts of labor are central to Cave's work, specifically because of notions related to craft fetishism. In the early 20th century, it became fashionable for the white bourgeoisie to purchase quilts handmade by African American women. These quilts, constructed of remnants, found fabrics, and worn-out garments were initially used both for warmth and as room dividers in slave quarters. The interest in collecting these quilts perfectly illustrates the means by which the utilitarian necessecity is transmogrified into luxury by means of cultural and racial tourism. When constructing a Soundsuits, Cave scours second hand shops for used and discarded garments which can then be patched together and re-appropriated, transforming the refuse of the everyday into the exotic, altering the status of excess simply by reconfiguring the means by which we encounter it.

While all of Cave's Suits are handmade by the artist, some obviously (and purposefully) pander to the spectator's desire to encounter the artist's hand in the products of his work. The concern with craft that each work displays is Cave's feigned expression of Accessory Beauty- the tactility and glamour of these works is simply a foil to engage the viewer in a dialogue, to confront the spectator with both the pleasure of voyeurism, as well as with his own connotations and cultural expectations of what these objects mean both in the context of the gallery and society.

The Soundsuits embody and reference disaffection and anonymity. By constructing the Suits as sculptural objects that appeal to our concepts of visual pleasure, Cave is ideally able to stall the gaze long enough to question us about our relationship to alienation and to ask how open we are to reconfiguring the social constructs under which all prejudices are allowed to proliferate. By denying the transparency that oppression typically shields itself with and replacing it with spectacle, Cave offers us parable, a new lens through which to view the familiar.

The true complexity of Cave’s work resides beneath the shimmering, clattering, and swaying surfaces of his sculptures. The tactile, visual, and auditory pleasure each work produces is a means of seduction, a way to bring the spectator close enough to ask him, with a swish of day-glo hair or the soft tick of colliding twigs, what is your relationship to the history of alienation and how can we go about progressing beyond it? “As an artist, I want to move forward,” Cave told me in a recent phone conversation from his Chicago studio. “ I want to move forward, and I want to bring you with me.”