Glittery, Fabulous, and Built for Dancing: Nick Cave’s “The Let Go” Is an Art Party

The immersive artist re-creates a queer nightclub inside the Park Avenue Armory. You will want to let loose.

Photo courtesy of “The Let Go”

Boogie nights are back this summer at Nick Cave’s immersive installation, “The Let Go,” at the Park Avenue Armory. No, not that Nick Cave—there are zero Bad Seeds to be found here.

And instead of moody songs about death, the Armory’s cavernous Drill Hall will be filled with ’70s and ’80s classics from the heydey of funk and soul. Cascades of rainbow-hued metallic Mylar streamers, flowing from a 40-foot-tall kinetic sculpture aerially mounted on serpentine tracks, add to the disco-rococo effect. The sculpture, titled Chase, winds its way through the sprawling space to create a constantly changing environment. One moment you’re throwing shapes in what feels like New York’s biggest dance party; the next, you’re grooving in your own private glittery waterfall.

Created in response to today’s ugly political climate, the work is an homage to the queer nightclubs of Cave’s youth, safe spaces that were both refuge and acts of resistance in one. Weekday performances of Up Right, a powerful work addressing police brutality and self-actualization, double down on this idea. As the Sing Harlem Choir layer vocal harmonies to create a haunting sonic-scape, seven performers slowly dress in one of Cave’s characteristic sound suits—wearable sculptures that swish and crinkle sibilantly as they move—that act as both armor and camouflage, stripping markers of race, gender, and sexuality.

Once suited up, with headpieces piled precariously high, the performers look like tropical birds or party-going shamans. The effect is magical! They occasionally reach for seated audience members—not that you’ll need any help getting wholly pulled in and mesmerized—and for each other, as they weave a festive procession throughout the space.

And then it’s time to dance.

On weekends, squads of dancers lead Soul Train-style lines and a special group dance. Nearby Hula Hoops and games of Twister provide fun alternatives to dancing, if somehow you aren’t in the mood. But that seems unlikely. The truth is, as the brothers Gibb once perfectly put it: “You should be dancing.” Now more than ever.

Why You Should Go: Obviously: to let go and let loose.

The Let Go”
Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue (between East 66th and 67th Streets), Upper East Side
Through Sunday, July 1

Follow up your disco sesh with a visit to some of the gayest spots in the city.