Faculty Member Nick Cave’s Latest Project Challenges Individuals to Reflect On Their Role in the Proliferation of Racism

A detail of “Letters to the World Toward the Eradication of Racism” that includes a line from Cave: “If U Want to March About It, U Have to Talk About It.” Photo | James Prinz

This past Juneteenth, Stephanie and Bill Sick Professor of Fashion, Body and Garment Nick Cave and his partner Bob Faust launched Amends, a new community-collaborative project at Facility, their art lab and studio space. Amends asks individuals to be brutally honest with themselves and each other by writing confessions of complicity to racism—in such terms as privilege, silence, and responsibility—on windows facing the street. The act of writing on the windows physicalizes the very best a window can offer—transparency, reflection, and a clearer view.

These public testimonials, aptly named "Letters to the World Toward the Eradication of Racism," are the first component to Amends. The project continues across the street at Carl Schurz Public High School, where community members hang "Dirty Laundry," yellow ribbons tied to a clothesline representing personal commitments to change. The final component is a social media push, asking for global participation in the form of the hashtag #AMENDS.

Cave, whose famous Soundsuits were created almost three decades ago in response to police brutality and the beating of Rodney King, knows that this is a struggle he has battled his entire career. In a feature with The New York Times Style Magazine, written by Lecturer Megan O'Grady of the New Arts Journalism Department, Cave said, "George Floyd was another tipping point for me. It made me question my own practice. Is my work purposeful enough? Why does this keep happening? How can I do more? I’ve been working against this problem and for this issue my entire career and am more committed to it than ever. We all need to be talking about it. Amends is one way I can ask all to contribute and to keep the conversations and momentum of right now."