Nick Cave’s Horses of a Different Color
It takes a lot to silence a crowd in Grand Central Station. But, aside from a few elated, giggling kiddos, and the occasional oooh and ahhh, that’s exactly what performance artist Nick Cave’s herd of multicolored horses achieved today. In celebration of the landmark’s 100th anniversary, Cave—famous for his Soundsuits—teamed up with the MTA and public art organization Creative Time to unveil his latest project, Heard NY (note the pun). The performances—which take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day from March 25 through March 31—feature thirty plastic-raffia horse costumes—each of which is manned by two dance students from The Ailey School—as they prance, kick, bow, and shimmy inside “corrals” in Vanderbilt Hall. “We live in a world where we tend not to dream,” Cave told Style.com. “So I began to think about my civic responsibility as an artist, and I wanted to create a project that really spoke about bringing us back to this dream state. We need to be able to dream. That’s the device that moves us forward.” Indeed, Cave’s horses, which danced to tribal drums and a live harpist, were dream like. But on the literal front, they inspired Grand Central’s frenetic commuters to stand still and absorb the show, rather than rush forward.
As for the horses, they were simultaneously silly and majestic, with their bejeweled faces and sweeping raffia bodies that made this lovely swish noise as they moved. “The students make these choices about the identity of their horses, so you’ll find there’s all these characters built into their performance,” said Cave. There were feisty ones, stubborn steeds, and ponies that came straight up to the audience and jogged in place. For a moment, this viewer almost forgot that what she was watching wasn’t really real. But, we suppose, that was Cave’s intention exactly.