via NYTimes, 11/03/06:
Whether Nick Cave's efforts qualify as fashion, body art or sculpture, and almost regardless of what you ultimately think of them, they fall squarely under the heading of Must Be Seen to Be Believed. His work stood out in "Frequency" at the Studio Museum in Harlem last season for its sheer decorative vehemence. Here his conjuring of African ceremonial costumes, haute couture ensembles and coats of armor that have incorporated shields is even more diverse.
Chairman of the fashion department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. Cave is 45 and knows something about sewing, draping, beading and quilting, and also scavenging, supplementing and adorning. He seems never to have met a floral pattern that he can't intensify with embroidery or, most often, sequins, which he dispenses lavishly. But he is equally adept with twigs, white string dipped in black paint, found socks and sweaters, dryer lint and Easter grass. And while he uses these materials in copious amounts, sometimes to grotesque effect, his garments always maintain a distinct and glamorous line.
His work belongs to the group that includes the garmented figures of Forcefield and Justin Samson; Yinka Shonibare's Euro-African rococo concoctions; Leigh Bowery's body-altering costumes; the bead-o-rama environments of Lisa Lou; and the everyday wardrobe of Iris Barrel Apfel, the octogenarian fashion veteran, which was the subject of an extraordinary exhibition at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art last fall. Needless to say, it is Mr. Cave's work that makes this motley group come together in the mind. ROBERTA SMITH