Nick Cave discusses the Hustle Coat (2021) currently on view as part of the exhibit Furthermore at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC:
It’s almost as if you were walking down the street and you were flashing someone. Meaning, if someone came up to you, and you opened your coat, and you had items for sale.
The hustle coat is a trench coat, which is made out of cotton. It’s double breasted, it has a belt, but inside of the coat, it also has a lining, which is covered in jewels. Just imagine necklaces, chains, watches, jewelry, stones are all sewn by hand into this lining of the coat, making it appear to be this jewel box.
Hustle Coat Detail with Obama Wrist Watch
It’s very bright and glittery — it sparkles. It’s sort of seductive, based on the materiality of the work. The sound it makes is — just imagine going through your jewelry box, and you’re looking for a certain ring. It’s just this sound of metal clanging and clashing up against itself — but extremely heavy.
The weight of this coat is also extremely heavy, and it’s all real jewelry. When I was a young kid, I was with my uncle on my first trip to Chicago. A guy came up [to us] and opened his coat, which had all of these gold chains hanging inside; he was trying to sell them. That, to me was like magic. The Hustle Coat is also, really, talking about class, excess and surplus, and thinking about, as an artist, getting your ‘hustle on,’ and what that demands, what that looks like, what that means. It’s also about commerce and selling and this sort of consumption of consumerism, in a sense.
Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum