Photos: Nick Cave art featured at Frist Family Festival Day

Photos by Shade Narramore / Contributing Photographer

Story by Gerardo Palacios / Contributing Writer

The Frist Center for Visual Arts hosted a free Family Festival Day Sunday, which featured Chicago artist Nick Cave’s installation, “Nick Cave: Feat.” It also featured family activities that revolved around Cave’s famous Soundsuits, which are intended to hide a person’s race, gender and class to allow for a judgment-free zone.

The first floor held a silent disco. Each guest was provided a colorful headphone set while they danced to hypnotic, upbeat music and enjoyed visuals provided by Cave himself.

Internationally acclaimed, multi-award winning balloon artist Nathan Lena, more famously known as Anthony the Balloon Kid began covering a giant, life-sized wooden person with balloons around 1 p.m.

“I did not really prepare for this. I mostly did some sketching to see kind of what I would do, but everything else is thought up on the spot,” said Anthony the Balloon Kid as he began his own interpretation of Cave’s Soundsuits. He finished at approximately 4:30 p.m.

The second floor hosted most of the family activities — dancing, face painting and sound bangles, which were made to mimic the sounds, color and movement of Cave’s Soundsuits — and was where “Nick Cave: Feat” was displayed.

“I came because I wanted my son to experience something new,” said Elizabeth Freeze of Nashville. “I like to take him out to events like this. Just a few weeks ago I took him to the Pumpkinfest.

Adults and children alike admired a wall of buttons in the Soundsuits room.

Hans Schmitt-Matzen, head designer at the Frist Center and MTSU alumnus, spoke about his involvement in the setup of the room where the Soundsuits were displayed.

“I worked with one of our graphic designers, Brandon Gnetz,” Schmitt-Matzen said.

Schmitt-Matzen also worked with Bob Faust from Cave’s team.

“We sort of just helped him execute the design,” Schmitt-Matzen said.

The day ended on the first floor with a “Listen, Move, Imagine” performance where young dancers wore their own colorful Soundsuits.

The “Nick Cave: Feat” exhibition will run through June 24, 2018.

See a full gallery below.

For more information and to learn more about Nick Cave and his Soundsuits, click here.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Josie D.
    November 15, 2017

    I don’t usually keep up with what’s going on at the Frist, but hearing about this exhibition is actually pretty exciting! I am an artist and have been to the Frist several times over the years, but I have never been there at the same time as an exhibit as colorful and lively as this one seems to be. I don’t know if this kind of display is something out of the ordinary for the Frist or just a product of coincidence from when I’ve visited myself. Regardless, this story grabbed my interest and I proceeded to look into the artist more through the link at the end of the article. I was left a little confused after comparing information between the two. The labelling of some of the pieces in the gallery of this article seem to imply they are all part of Nick Cave’s exhibition, but upon further inspection a select few, like the fabric wall and scent related piece, are actually part of a companion exhibit. The art for this companion event, called Extrasensory, is crafted with inspiration from Nick Cave, but the artists themselves are teaching artists from the Frist, community members, and visitors to the interactive exhibit. This article references parts of Extrasensory, but never acknowledges its existence as separate from Nick Cave’s own work. As an artist, I find it frustrating that some people who read this may assume the same as I did at the beginning and never know about the upwards of 900 people who contributed to Extrasensory. This article did a good job in that it made me think about going to see Nick Cave: Feat and Extrasensory in person, but I am a little disappointed in the lack of recognition for the other artists involved.

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