Nick Cave's Life-Sized, Military-Style, "Homoerotic" Statue Is Going Ahead

Corin Johnson, the sculptor who designed the piece for Cave's hometown of Warracknabeal, describes it as "Louis 14th meets spiritual outlaw."
June 21, 2018, 10:22am
L: Samir Hussein/WireImage
R: Corin Johnson

Nick Cave, a shaman who can make you unquit smoking, will finally be immortalized with a statue in his hometown of Warracknabeal, Victoria. The life-sized bronze, the idea for which has been floating around for two decades, will depict the artist sitting heroically atop a rearing horse like a military leader, nude but for a loincloth around his groin.

According to The Guardian, the idea for the statue came about in the mid-90s when British sculptor Corin Johnson ran into Cave and the Bad Seeds at a club in London. Cave discussed the project in Bec Peniston-Bird's 2008 documentary, Abusing the Muse. "The idea really was to get this huge statue on the back of a ute or something like that and drive it to Warracknabeal and leave it there. This gift, this sort of act of supreme generosity, and see if they would leave it in their town square," Cave said then.

"I've since found out that there is no town square in Warracknabeal, there's just a roundabout, which would be rather good as well," he continued. "And if they didn't want it, I was just going to drive it into the desert and dump it there somewhere."

In 2009, Cave told TIME that the project was being put on hold in the wake of the financial crash. "Unfortunately the fortunes of Warracknabeal are so grim at the moment with the recession and this chronic drought that's going on, that it feels a little in bad taste to erect a giant gold statue," he said. "But one day."

Nick Cave, the Shaman

That day seems to be arriving. And rather than surprising the 2,400 residents of Warracknabeal by driving the thing in on the back of a truck, Johnson's design will now be erected with permission. It was picked up by Warracknabeal Arts Council co-founder Peter Loy. This coming August, he'll set up a crowdfunding page to raise money for the statue, which will be part-funded by his fellow arts council members and the local authority. According to The Guardian, the project will cost around $200,000, and any money left over will be passed onto the proposed Cave Youth Arts Foundation.

Johnson himself described Cave's repose in the statue as "Louis 14th meets spiritual outlaw." Cave himself says that it's "a rather beautiful piece of homoerotic art."

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