Nick Cave, Thomas Houseago and Brad Pitt pose with sculptures at the night before the opening of their joint exhibition. Photo courtesy of Jussi Koivunen/Sara Hilden Art Museum, Lehtikuva via AP
Art People

Actor Brad Pitt and Musician Nick Cave Debut Their Art in a Finnish Museum Show

Of Fight Club, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood fame, actor, film producer, and recent Make It Right post-Katrina housing lawsuit recipient Brad Pitt is now making art. This past weekend, the creative debuted his first works with musician Nick Cave and artist Thomas Houseago at the Sara Hildén Art Museum in Tampere, Finland in the dedicated trio exhibition, “WE.” The show marked the first time that all three artists have shown their work in the country, and that Cave and Pitt have exhibited their art publicly. 

With guidance and encouragement from Houseago, the actor and musician—who shares a name with the Chicago-based artist and former Cultured cover star Nick Cave—decided to expand to a new medium: sculpture. The three creatives traveled to Tampere to visit the show last Saturday, the day before it opened to the public. “WE” will be on view through January 15, 2023. 

When invited to exhibit his work at The Sara Hilden Art Museum, British-born Houseago proposed the idea of a collective show. With approval from the art institute, Houseago extended the invitation to his friends Pitt and Cave. Though all three contributed sculptural works, they each have a distinct and recognizable style. “WE” offers the opportunity to display their individual pieces in context with one another. 

Houseago’s large-scale figurative sculpture is both eye-catching and minimalist. It is diverse in material choices, some of which are standard for classical sculpture, such as clay, bronze, and plaster, and others that are more experimental. In “WE,” both the familiar and new are on display alongside his newest venture, painting. A series of similarly large-scale canvases make their debut in the show. 

Pitt’s contribution to the exhibition consists of nine mixed-media sculptures, rich in their depictions of emotion, violence, and movement. One of the pieces features a clear silicone mold of an A-frame house that has been shot with bullets. Pitt displays a few versions of this piece, each cast with different gauges of ammunition. His first-ever sculpture, House A Go Go (2017), includes a wood model of a similar abode. A violent shooting shown in two- and three-dimensional relief marks Pitt’s largest piece on display, alluding to the ancient origins of the panel artwork technique.

"[My art] was borne out of ownership of really what I call a radical inventory of self,” explained Pitt to Finnish broadcaster YLE, “getting really, brutally honest with me and ... taking account of those I may have hurt and moments I've just gotten wrong.” 

Cave’s post-punk, rock star edge is not only apparent in his music but in his visual art too. 

Cave began working on his body of work, “The Devil—A Life,” in 2020 and finally drew it to conclusion this year. The series consists of 17 hand-crafted glazed ceramic figurines that depict the Devil’s life cycle through stages of innocence and evil. The musician’s artwork openly draws parallels to classical art, the Sara Hildén Art museum writes: “Aesthetically the series nods to the artist’s interest in Victorian Staffordshire Flatback figurines, of which he is a collector.” 

Houseago intends for “WE” to be an ongoing project that embraces a variety of mediums. He hopes to eventually expand the show as a collective that incorporates new artists as well. Whether some of Pitt’s Hollywood co-stars join the roster, only time will tell.

"WE” is on view at the Sara Hildén Art Museum from October 8, 2022, to January 15, 2023 at Laiturikatu 13, 33230 Tampere, Finland.