“I think that, with hindsight, this may have been a moment in my career where my own past and present truly came together, more so that with other collections, which, however much I cherished them, were a carefully stitched-together tapestry of obsessively researched elements. My Grunge collection was more ‘felt’ than it was thought.”
The 1993 Grunge collection secured Anna Sui’s place in the history of fashion. She saw Seattle’s grunge music scene as the major force in the youth culture of that period, and used the layering and mixing typical of its style to great effect, riffing on the youthful sincerity of the movement to produce some of the most influential looks of the nineties.
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble, Detail: Polyester and Cotton Tank and Leggings with Totton Kilt and Shorts
Grunge style sprang out of a Seattle subculture in which a new wave of musicians, including Nirvana fronted by Kurt Cobain, sported a “thrift store” style of dressing that seemed to mirror their novel sound. This “un-fashion” style chimed with the decade’s rejection of the excesses of the 1980s and quickly went from subculture to mass culture. Marc Jacobs, working for Perry Ellis at the time, glamorized this style to create a grunge collect for Sping 1993. Sui’s references to grunge in her own collection, in contrast, are colored with optimism and a “hippie” sensibility. The outfit seen here features a kilt, widely associated with grunge, as well as a flower belt more reminiscent of the sixties or seventies
Lunchbox by Designs from the Deep, Cowhide/Rubber Boots by John Fluevog for Anna Sui
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble (Spring 1993) Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design
Poet is the name of a street artist whose work I discovered through his Pink Mail Box series, which is called Love Letters. I started following him on Instagram under the hashtag #poetwastaken and, over the weekend, I went out looking for a few of the works he’s been posting on his feed. This piece, which includes an image of Kurt Cobain alongside a spray painted quote, is located in Freeman’s Alley on the LES.
Once I found the piece in person (and if you’ve seen Freeman’s Alley, you know that’s no easy feat) I was disappointed to discover that the quote had already been pasted over by another artist’s work, even though Poet’s piece had only been up since January 28th. This kind of thing happens so often that Poet said he has learned not to let it bother him. Everything is a work in progress.
Poet, who is based in Los Angeles, told me a bit more about the Cobain piece in a chat via Instagram. “The Kurt Cobain piece was actually initially derived from his quote “Thank you for the trajedy (sic), I need it for my art.” I had spray painted that next to that paste up, but the very next day it was covered by another paste up. This lead me to a add a short and sweet message of “I’m so happy” over Kurt’s image. I’ve been painting that quote for about a year now, and with paste ups only for a few months.”
Watch for more street art by Poet to be featured here in the coming weeks!
I have no idea how long this pastel-hued NYC Skyline mural by San Framciso-based street artist Dirt Cobain has been up, but my guess is that it’s a couple of years old, based on its relatively decent condition.
This identifying banner sits at the west end of the mural, which covers the service door of a local business at the southwest corner of West 24th Street at Sixth Avenue.
Next time I walk by this street, I’ll try to a get photo from across the street, when business has its door shut.
Damien Dot: Portrait of Damien Hirst by John Grande (All Photos By Gail)
Wedged between viewing rad new art by both Lynda Benglis and Herb Alpert, we popped into Jim Kempner on 23rd and 10th during last Thursday’s Art Crawl to check out a very fun exhibit. Taking Appropriation Art to a hilarious new level, painter John Grande presents his new series of portraits depicting pop culture icons superimposed with the distinctive design of Damien Hirst’s famous Spot Paintings. That Hirst himself is honored in the show is pure brilliance.
Some of the celebrities featured in the series include Whitney Houston, Truman Capote, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland and Andy Warhol. The portraits are borrowed from Richard Avedon and other renowned photographers. He must have had a good time dealing with all of the licensing!
Jim Kempner is the rare gallery that always has a few things going on in addition to their featured exhibit, so drop by next time you are in the neighborhood.
John Grande’s Oh You Pretty Things Will be on Exhibit through February 23rd, 2014 at Jim Kempner Fine Art, Located at 501 West 23rd Street, on the Northwest corner of 23rd Street and Tenth Avenue in the Chelsea Gallery District, NYC.
Marilyn Manson Poster By Bruce Pavlow (All Photos By Gail)
Here’s a crazy fun exhibit that Geoffrey and I literally stumbled on during our recent fall season-launch art crawl: Poster Child, a series of new photographic works by Bruce Pavlow.
Culture Club Poster
Viewing Poster Child in the gallery is like walking into an imagined tween or teenagers bedroom. Pavlow has photographed various posters of popular culture icons including bands, pop star pin ups, animals, landscapes and motivational mottos – which the artist asserts have been created by fictitious characters that have enhanced and personalized the images by incorporating ready-made slogan bumper stickers and colorful icon stickers from craft and toy stores.
Boy Band Poster
With the embellishment of these memes and slogans, each poster illustrates a personalized narrative and context, reflecting the thoughts and desires of the fictitious characters as well as the culture at large.
Britney Spears Poster
Sex Pistols Poster
The re-created posters are then photographed (no Photoshop was used) and digitally printed at near actual size on watercolor paper, giving them a photo-realist quality that amplifies the subsequent transformation. The humor, as you can see is quite sardonic and subversive. Check out Poster Child before it closes!
Drug Enhanced Nirvana Poster
Poster Child By Bruce Pavlow will be on Exhibit Through October 12, 2013 at Shoot The Lobster Gallery, Located at 540 West 29th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District, New York City.
When I was planning a four-day stay in Seattle, one of the attractions I knew I couldn’t miss was the Experience Music Project pop culture Museum. I’ve been curious about visiting the EMP. since it was first in construction, which was about 15 years ago. Originally, it’s my understanding that the museum was being built and funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to house his extensive Jimi Hendrix memorabilia collection. But obviously, it’s expanded quite a bit since that original, rather narrow concept.
Space Needle Reflected in the Exterior of the EMP
Conveniently located in the Seattle Center, literally in the shadow of the Space Needle, and adjacent to several other top tourist attractions, the EMP is certainly one of the most unusual examples of modern architecture I’ve ever seen. When viewed from the top of the Space Needle, this Frank Gehry-designed structure looks like a Giant took a handful of various boxes of different shapes and colors, and stuck them all together. But this unique approach to modern design has created a fantastic space that provides exhibit halls for not only local music history and an extensive trip down memory lane with the Jimi Hendrix Experience in London, but separate wings for science fiction, fantasy film and literature, horror movies, and the current temporary exhibit highlighting Women Who Rock. Here are a few photos I took during my visit in July of 2013.
Any Jimi Hendrix fan is going to be blown away by the Hendrix Experience Hits London section, which fills several ground floor galleries.
Not only will you see vintage, authentic stage costumes worn by Jimi, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, but the walls of the galleries are plastered with photographs, news clippings, magazine articles, vinyl albums and posters that telegraph the band’s rise to stardom after their initial visit to the UK. All I can say is, it must be nice to be Paul Allen.
Around the corner from the Hendrix exhibit is an exhaustive documentation of the Nirvana’s impact on the Seattle grunge punk music scene during the 90s. You could easily spend a couple of hours in this section, just reading all about some of the best bands that came from this genre-defining region of the country such as Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and many other Sub Pop signings as well as projects from legendary genre producers such as Jack Endino.
In addition to extensive documentation, Photos, Personal Letters, CD covers, magazine articles, costumes and props, there’s also one of Dave Grohl’s drum kits and other one-of-a-kind memorabilia. Whoever created this part of the museum did so with a good deal of love.
Fantasy film enthusiasts will not want to miss the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibit where I enjoyed seeing costumes such as those worn by David Bowie in the film Labyrinth as well as many other props and costumes from classic films such as The Hobbit, the Wizard of Oz and Clash of the Titans, to name but a few.
Captain Kirk’s Enterprise Command Chair and Tribbles
On another floor there’s an exhibit dedicated to Icons of Science Fiction. Not only are there props and costumes from science-fiction films, but also there are small exhibits on popular books of the genre that laid the foundation for much of the visual media that came in their wake.
Dalek from Dr. Who
Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film is also a very fun exhibit. Aside from the expected props and costumes, you can personalize your experience by participating in interactive exhibits including the Scream Booth and Philip Worthington’s interactive shadow monster installation – which is just insane.
Rest your weary feet with time spent in a dozen video kiosks where you can sit in near darkness and watch horror film clips (commentary included) curated by directors Roger Corman, John Landis and Eli Roth. Super fun and also very educational!
Outfits Worn by Chrissie Hynde and Kim Gordon (Image Courtesy of the EMP)
The museum’s top floor is home to a large interactive studio recording exhibit, where you can actually play instruments and record your own music. It’s also where you’ll find the museums latest exhibit, Women Who Rock, which just opened in June. Women Who Rock does an ambitious job of documenting female artists from the 50s through to present including pioneers such as Brenda Lee, Leslie Gore, Loretta Lynn, Ronnie Specter and many of the girl groups through to the punk rock movement, groundbreaking all-female rock groups such as The Runaways and The GoGos and on to superstar solo artists from Madonna to Shakira and, of course Lady Gaga. Unfortunately, my camera battery ran out just as we were entering this particular exhibit, so the only photos I have are ones I pulled from EMP’s website.
Rihanna Music Awards Outfit (Image Courtesy of the EMP)
The Experience Music Project is a must-see destination for any music and film fan’s trip to the beautiful and vibrant city of Seattle. Exhibits change from time to time so make sure you consult the museum’s website to find out what they have in house during your planned visit.
If Six Was Nine Kinetic Guitar Sculpture
The EMP Museum is located at 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle Center, WA, convenient to the Seattle Center Monorail. Hours are 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Daily. Visit This Link for additional exhibit schedule and admission information.
The Morrison Hotel Gallery is proud to present the premiere exhibition of Kurt Cobain By Jesse Frohman in conjunction with the 18th anniversary of Cobain’s passing on April 5, 1994. The exhibit will be open to the public from April 6th through April 22nd at the 124 Prince Street gallery.
These iconic images of Kurt Cobain in his final days are a testament to Grunge and pop culture in the ’90s, and the worlds of art, fashion, music and celebrity collide in this distinguished portrait series. These are some of the most sought after pictures of Cobain and The Morrison Hotel Gallery is thrilled to present them to the public in this unique exhibition.
Jesse Frohman’s insightful portrait of an idol transcends the nature of celebrity photography. The pictures are as humanizing as they are glorifying. Cobain appears as a goofily provocative iconoclast, with his vintage air force cap, Jackie O. sunglasses and leopard jacket, while revealing a more depressing side of the life of a great artist dependent on drugs. Like Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain died both at an early age and at the pinnacle of his career. These photographs, captured near the time of his death, provide a fascinating insight into the end of the life of a rock star.
If I didn’t have a calendar in front of me I’d swear it was April Fools’ Day, because I just read about a new musical coming to off-Broadway which is based on the true story of the late sixties’ all female rock band, The Shaggs. For those unfamiliar with this pop cultural phenomenon, the band was composed of sisters Dorothy “Dot” Wiggin (vocals/lead guitar), Betty Wiggin (vocals/rhythm guitar), Helen Wiggin (drums), and later Rachel Wiggin (bass). The Shaggs were formed by Dot, Betty, and Helen in 1968 on the insistence of their father, Austin Wiggin, who believed that his mother foresaw the band’s rise to stardom. The Shaggs’ only studio album, Philosophy of the World, was released in 1969 and failed to garner attention, though the band continued to exist as a locally popular live act. The Shaggs disbanded in 1975 after their father’s death. Today, the band is primarily notable for their perceived ineptitude at playing conventional rock music; the band was described in one Rolling Stone article as “…sounding like lobotomized Trapp Family singers.” In some circles, however, The Shaggs are seen as a groundbreaking outsider music group, receiving praise from mainstream artists such as Kurt Cobain and also from Frank Zappa after he called the Shaggs “better than the Beatles.”
As art imitates life, the play tells the story of a working-class dad’s a vision of rock-n-roll destiny for his three talentless daughters, convinced that they are his family’s one-way ticket out of hardship and obscurity. Shaggs: Philosophy of the World is directed by John Langs, coproduced by New York Theatre Workshop and South Ark Stage. The book is by Joy Gregory, music by Gunnar Madsen, and lyrics by Gregory and Madsen. Personally, I can’t wait to see it.
For two evenings in April, curious Shaggs’ fans can sneak a peek of the new musical, prior to its May 2011 debut at New York’s Playwrights Horizons. On Sunday and Monday, April 17and 18, excerpts will be performed at the Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street) at 7:30 PM. Irwin Chusid will also moderate a discussion with members of the production’s creative team. It should be a good time. Tickets for this event are $30 General Public, $25 Guggenheim members and $10 for Students under 25 with valid ID. Click through to This Link to purchase.
On This Date, April 17th in 1991: Nirvana filmed the music video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in Culver City, CA. The video, made on budget of less than $50,000, led MTV (which, believe it or not, actually showed music videos at that time) to favor the new crop of alternative bands in place of pop metal bands.