Artist Nick Cave Spreads a Little Joy in Boston

A collaboration between the contemporary artist and Now + There brings ornaments, a parade, and artwork to Beantown.

A collaboration between the contemporary artist and Now + There brings ornaments, a parade, and artwork to Beantown.

With themes of togetherness and spreading joy throughout the city, artist Nick Cave brings a sense of community to Boston with “Augment,” a three-part project with public art agency Now + There that will combine artwork, performances and workshops throughout the city’s South End neighborhood.

“I think that even within the train wreck of it all, we still have to find devices, mechanisms to cope and to exist with one another,” said Cave in a statement. “So, I’m hoping to utilize the space…to convene, to bring the community together, to talk about difficult things.”

The collaboration known as Joy++ began in August in a very festive way, with Cave’s work being paraded around through the streets of Boston. The first part of “Augment” is currently draped from the ceiling of the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts. The installation will be on view through September 13 and consists of over 1000 inflatable ornaments sewn together—ornaments like the ones you would typically see on a neighbor’s front lawn during the holidays. Via fans and suspensions, the incredibly colorful and vibrant collection of cultural touchstones and images, deflate and inflate, breathing life into the space while hovering above.

The front of 555 Columbus Avenue, where artwork by Nick Cave and other artists will be available for viewing from September 14 through April 2020.

When the installation wraps up at the BCA, Boston will then have their first ever Joy parade the following day on September 14, a procession of art contributed by Cave himself as well as other local artists and diverse performers in partnership with the Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI). The artwork will then make its way to 555 Columbia Avenue in Upham’s Corner and be on view through April 2020. Visitors can expect a series of collages by local artists such as L’Merchie Frazier, Barrington Edwards, Destiny Polk, and Wilton Tejeda.

The man behind the curtain, Cave is no stranger to playing in a colorful and ground-breaking work environment, having just teamed up with Apple and the New Museum for an augmented reality art series.


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