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Past Exhibitions

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Thu May 13 – Mon Sep 6 2010

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

Grunge music is arguably Seattle’s greatest cultural export of the past 20 years, and Kurt Cobain was that movement’s central figure. The historical impact of Kurt Cobain cannot be denied or overestimated. During and after his brief career—which came to a premature end in 1994—his life and work have reverberated across the globe. Kurt celebrates that influence, in particular the effect he had on the creative lives and thought processes of artists.

Kurt Cobain symbolized the ideals, aspirations and disappointments of the ’90s generation, and a diverse array of artists have incorporated his image into their work to comment on those issues. International in scope, the works on view in Kurt range from straightforward portraiture to pieces that show a more subtle assimilation of Cobain’s ethos and idealism in a broad range of media. With works from the early 1990s to the present, by artists such as Rodney Graham, Douglas Gordon and Elizabeth Peyton, among others, this exhibition will cause viewers to question why and how Kurt’s visage and his gestures came to mean so much to a generation.

–Michael Darling, Former Jon & Mary Shirley Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art

Educational Resources
To explore this exhibition a little deeper, download our bibliography.

Kurt Cobain at MTV’s Live & Loud, Seattle, WA, December 13, 1993, 1993, Alice Wheeler, American, b. 1961, color photograph, 27 x 40 1/2 in., Gift of Clinton T. Willour in honor of Greg Kucera and Larry Yocom, 2010.5, © Alice Wheeler