Talk: Nick Cave and Friends


This event will take place on Zoom and will be streamed to Facebook Live. RSVP for pre-show reminders.

Featured images

Linda Johnson Rice. Photo: Nathan Beckner
Nona Hendryx. Image courtesy of the artist

About the event

Join a discussion on Black creativity in fashion, contemporary art, dance, and popular culture with artist Nick Cave in dialogue with dancer Damita Jo Freeman, musician Nona Hendryx, and publisher Linda Johnson Rice. The panel will discuss Cave's art and influences as well as pivotal cultural phenomena from Soul Train to Ebony magazine.

MCA Talks highlight cutting-edge thinking and contemporary art practices across disciplines. This presentation is organized by January Parkos Arnall, Interim Senior Curator, with the Performance and Public Practice team.


Linda Johnson Rice serves as chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company; where she became the first African American woman CEO among the top five of the Black Enterprise 100s largest black-owned companies. Johnson Rice serves as President of the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors and also serves on the Board of Directors of Omnicom Group, Grubhub, and Enova and is a council member of The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Northwestern Memorial Corporation; and a trustee at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Johnson Rice has stewarded the treasured Ebony/Jet photo archives through a consortium of foundations led by the J. Paul Getty Trust, with co-purchasers the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The archives are shared between the Getty Foundation and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Nona Hendryx tackles social issues, love and politics with a smoky vocal tessitura somewhere between funk and the end of the stratosphere. Hendryx’s legendary career spans six decades of sound and style evolution. Fans know her as a founding member of the girl group Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles, known as “the Sweethearts of the Apollo Theatre” and inducted into the R&B Hall of Fame in 1999. In the 70s, the group morphed into the Rock & Funk Glam Diva's 'Labelle' and released the #1 record, Lady Marmalade. Hendryx emerged as the chief songwriter of the group’s socially conscious and illuminating message songs. Hendryx’s impressive solo career spans eight studio albums and engaged her with an impressive lineup of collaborators (Prince, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, Bono and Cameo), resulting in top ten hits and a Grammy nomination (Rock This Houses with The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards on guitar). Hendryx remains the Queen of Transformation; writing music for theatre, composing music for film (the Lee Daniels 2010 Oscar-nominated Precious). Hendryx is also an activist and vocal supporter for women’s rights, social, political and criminal justice, helping to raise funds and awareness of HIV/AIDS from the outbreak of the epidemic and still involved today, as well as teacher, director, collaborator, and performer across disciplines.


The Richard and Mary L. Gray Lectures are made possible through a generous gift to the Chicago Contemporary Campaign.