Nick Cave – the exhibition blog

Here at the Western Australian Museum we have a group of staff who are big Nick Cave fans so it’s been an absolute pleasure spending our days working on the exhibition and designing programs around the man, his music, his writing and his fashion.

Over the course of the exhibition we have events, installations and programs running that we’d like you to respond to. We also want to hear what you think about Nick Cave, his career, his music, his writing and how he has influenced you. And we want to hear what you thought about the exhibition at the Museum.

This blog closed on 24 July 2009. Comments have now been disabled.

The Carnival is Over

Posted on Monday, 27 July 2009
By Trish McDonald

It took only a few short days to dismantle and pack up Nick Cave: the exhibition ready for its move to the National Library of Australia in Canberra, the next venue in its tour around Australia. It's been fantastic having the exhbition here, along with all the associated displays and events. It brought in a crowd somewhat different to our regular visitors but we hope to see them back again. The exhibition allowed us to try some things like evening openings, artists using the collections to create installations and creative workshops that we'd like to move the Museum towards as we plan the new museum project.

If you have any suggestions for other events/activities/exhibitions you'd like to see in the future, please let us know.


More News from Nowhere

Posted on Tuesday, 14 July 2009
By Nicole Ryan

With 19 July 2009 looming, when Nick Cave – the exhibition closes, I revisited the Museum in Perth yet again to bid farewell to one of the most inspiring shows I have seen in a long, long time.

Of all the many things I find intriguing about the man and his work there is one small piece in the exhibition that has tugged at my heartstrings each time I visit.

Under Polly Borland’s hauntingly beautiful portrait of Susie Bick is a small display case holding a notebook that overflows with Nick’s poems to his wife. Pasted onto one of the pages is a dried rose petal with the hand-written words ‘love Susie xx’. Beside the portrait is a description in Nick’s own words of the couple’s first meeting. It may sound soppy and shrine-like but if you’ve seen the show I’m sure you’ll agree it’s more of an intimate window into the connection between them.

And for me this is the key to the whole exhibition. It is a vivid glimpse into Nick’s life, his muses, his emotions and his vast creativity. The exhibition is an intimate portrait of Nick Cave in both a literal and emotional sense – at times confronting and brutally honest, the objects and images on display are always compelling. It fires the imagination and makes you think of your own stories and how they might be told.

This exhibition has re-ignited my creativity and has me dusting off my easel and paintbrushes again.

But tell me, how has Nick Cave inspired you? What song takes you back to a particular moment in time? How has his lyrics or stories touched your life?

What is your ‘Nick Cave story’?

4 Comment(s)

Posted on 16/07/2009 7:42:14 PM by Holly Stolz

Into Your Arms... what more can I say?

It woos my heart and sings to my soul.

How the hell could it come in at only 36 in the Hottest 100 of all time?

Posted on 22/07/2009 8:26:48 AM by Jeremy Prescott

Awesome to see the gig posters and set lists in the exhibition. Takes me back to lost nights in Melbourne. Best days (nights) of my life.

Cool to see Nick's shirt on display too. I used to wear similar 'home-mades'. Thought I was so cool at the time. Not too sure about that now but would never ever trade those memories.

Awesome exhibition. Keep the faith and do more of these shows.

Posted on 22/07/2009 8:39:20 AM by gen

I think you mean Into MY Arms, don't you?

Most heartfelt song I know. It also took on a new dimension for me when it was played at a mate's funeral recently.

Thanks Nick for putting our emotions into words.

Posted on 14/11/2009 11:13:03 AM by Julia Beard

I love the website! Congrats on the awards, i like the whole set up and the turn the page Gallery.

Spoken word fun

Posted on Monday, 13 July 2009
By Renee Dodds

Thanks to all who came along to see Cottonmouth on Friday night, it was a great success and lots of fun. The words and music were all Nick Cave themed with plenty of religion, passion and murder and the scene was set by having it all taking place in the Museum foyer. There’s just one more late night opening now – this Friday night 17 July, before the exhibition closes, make sure you tell your friends to get along if they haven’t seen it yet!

Speak to me Saint Nick

Posted on Thursday, 9 July 2009
By Renee Dodds

Poetry and lyrics lovers, the next night-time event is just around the corner.  Speak to me Saint Nick…the Museum meets Cottonmouth meets Nick Cave for your listening pleasure.  Some of Perth’s finest spoken words artists and musicians will be performing to tantalise your senses.  It all happens tomorrow night, 10 July, the exhibition is open from 5.30pm, spoken word starts at 8pm.   Lucky door prizes will also be on offer – two books signed by Nick Cave himself.  Get along early to take another peek inside the intimate workings of the mind of the man himself before the words start flowing.

NickWiz - a success

Posted on Wednesday, 8 July 2009
By Trish McDonald

With 8 rounds of 10 team questions for the main quiz, 2 individual competitions, a great lucky door prize and other giveaways on the night, the NickWiz was a lot of fun. Congratulations to the Beldon Sea Eagles team who edged out team Salty Dogs by half a point to take first prize and an honourable mention to third-place getters, And the Ass Saw Table 4. Jane was the very knowledgable winner of the individual song titles competition - beating 10 other equal first place getters in the tough tie-breaker question and the clean winner of the album cover art competition was Marianne.

Host Peter Barr from RTR FM did a great job of entertaining the quizzers and encouraging the rivallry between teams. We thank all our generous supporters for providing fantastic prizes - RTR FM 92.1, EMI Records, The Good Guys  Cannington, Penguin Books, Captain Cook Cruises, The Western Australian Music Industry, 78 Records, Were Estate Wines, Trax Music, The Vic Brewery.

2 Comment(s)

Posted on 8/07/2009 10:34:33 AM by Peacenik

Due to Nick's 'dark prince' persona, I dont think a lot of people would realise how much fun a bunch of Nick Cave fans in one room could have.

...and being in the Museum at night time was so cool! Very classy. Thanks so much for a great night.

Posted on 7/08/2009 12:20:19 PM by Trish McDonald

Glad you had a good night. We hope that some of the questions had a certain humour to them!


Posted on Thursday, 2 July 2009
By Trish McDonald

We are ready to go with our questions for tomorrow's NickWiz trivia night. Should be a great night.

Bring it on - Programs and Events

Posted on Wednesday, 10 June 2009
By Trish McDonald

Nick @ Night time- Friday, 5 June 2009. We opened the doors of the Museum till 7.30pm last Friday night to give people an extra chance to see Nick Cave - the exhibition at a time that suits them. The turn out was quite good with around 200 people taking the opportunity to visit after regular hours.

We'll do this again on the evening of Friday, 17 July 2009 before the exhibition closes on Sunday 19 July 2009.

Meanwhile don't forget the other evening events we have planned - see the Events tab.

Tell us what you think about opening the Museum after hours - is it something we should do regularly or only for special events? What night do you think would work best? Any other thoughts?

We call upon the author to explain - poems by Kevin Gillam

Posted on Thursday, 28 May 2009
By Cottonmouth

Nick Cave is an artist who refuses to be typecast. From music, fiction, film script, he is not restricted by genre or style. His work is a celebration of the creative process and all that is obsessive, dark, untidy and honest associated with that. These three poems below are reflections and tributes to the Cave influence.

day one

one day  every day will be this. this will be one
day every day. every day will be this one
day. will every day be this one day? Nick’s will be
every day  one day. every day one day will
be this. will one Cave be this every day? every
one day will be this day. day one will be Nick
every day. this day everyone will be day. will
this day be everyone Cave? Nick’s every day will
be day one. one every Cave will be this day. will
Nick’s be one day every day? this day Nick will be one
every day. will everyone be Cave this day? every
day one will be this Cave. day one every day
Nick’s be this. be this one Cave will every
Cave? Nick Cave every day will be one


everything hums. ever-
ything succumbs. every-
thing’s fecund. everything
becomes flotsam. every-
thing’s unfinished. every-
thing etches one creed. ever-
ything’s desire or impul-
sion. everything swarms and
shimmers and turns towards the
sun. everything’s a curr-
ency. everything’ll
get dug back in. every-
thing unwinds. everything’s
begun. everything hums

God’s seed

Nick: rhymes with velour
and gravel and underwing
of black cockatoo

Cave: where the original
inhabitants laid
out their dead in the knowledge

that soul and song would
find sea, ride an updraft of
spume, be with God’s seed


3 Comment(s)

Posted on 28/05/2009 2:35:53 PM by SPM

wow. that last poem has suddenly become my fave gillam poem ever.

Posted on 9/02/2009 7:52:27 AM by Bill Bartmann

Great site...keep up the good work.

Posted on 11/05/2009 7:38:40 PM by Kouba

In truth, immediately i didn't understand the essence. But after re-reading all at once became clear.

God is in the house - launch of the exhibition

Posted on Monday, 25 May 2009
By Renae Woodhams

On Friday night we launched the Nick Cave exhibition at the Museum.  It was just fantastic.  The events team had brought in long red draped curtains, chandeliers and Anton Maz from Death Disco dropped some awesome music... Nick Cave, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Dead Can Dance, Johnny Cash...  It was fantastic.  But what made it even more special was the VJ images that Jasper and Cat from VJ Zoo threw up onto the Museum walls.

At one stage I looked up while The Ship Song was playing and there was Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dancing on the deck of a ship.  It was surreal and beautiful.

Highlight of the night was getting to meet Martyn P Casey who said a few words at the launch talking about his time working with Nick Cave and giving us all a quick run through of what he and the band will be up to in the next few months... as he said it doesn't sound like they'll be slowing down any time soon!

Straight to you - Nick Cave Live

Posted on Thursday, 21 May 2009
By Trish McDonald

My favourite gig was at the Hordern Pavilion during the Henry’s Dream tour in the early nineties. I was with a bunch of friends but as soon as ‘Papa Won’t Leave You Henry’ started the crowd surged, we all got separated and I ended up quite close to the front. It was summer and an absolute sauna inside. I didn’t see my mates till the end of the show when we all met up outside absolutely soaked to the skin – a great night!!!

I didn’t enjoy so much the more subdued, piano-dominated shows in the late nineties/early noughties, so was very glad when raucous guitars made a comeback, especially the Grinderman/Nick Cave solo at the Enmore in 2007 – hung around for the second encore and was treated to Jack the Ripper which I hadn’t heard them play live for ages – fantastic!

1 Comment(s)

Posted on 9/06/2009 12:51:21 PM by Alex Torrens

Totally agree Trish! Though I do have found memories of watching Nick Cave playing solo in Princess Street Gardens under the castle in Edinburgh in 1999...somehow the venue was a perfect fit for the more introspective material. Even despite a pretty shocking audience full of loud Aussie backpackers shouting out play 'the ship song'!

Do you love me? Thoughts of Nick Cave

Posted on Friday, 15 May 2009
By Renae Woodhams

I remember the first time the idea of hosting the Nick Cave exhibition at the Museum came up.

I was sitting in the board room with a couple of directors and staff waiting for another meeting to start. Our exhibition director said to me "what do you think about the Nick Cave exhibition." I said back to her "what?" She said "Nick Cave, an exhibition." I said "Sorry what? I think you are saying Nick Cave." She said "I am saying Nick Cave." I said Nick Cave, like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds." And she shouted "Yes."

I was beside myself... I have been a massive fan for years and the possibility of this exhibition at our museum was too delightful.

I've turned into a bit of a fanatic now and have since seen the exhibition while it was on show in Melbourne. And it's awesome."

2 Comment(s)

Posted on 15/05/2009 9:25:27 PM by Virginia Giles

Can't blame you Renae, I was excited when I knew it was happening at WAM as well, let alone it being part of my work and getting paid for it like you are!! Perks of the job...

It's countdown time now and I am looking forward to spending a lazy afternoon or two at WAM interrogating this man's incredible mind through the exhibition.

It is great to see WAM exhibiting something quite different from the norm.

Posted on 21/05/2009 4:21:48 PM by Renae

Yeah me too. Like I said I saw it in Melbourne and loved it and even though I spent an hour in the exhibition it wasn't enough to really get into everything so I am really looking forward to it being in Perth so I can come back a few times and explore it some more.