Kurt Cobain’s first visual art exhibition will be shown August 3-6 at the Seattle Art Fair. Many of his sketches and journal excerpts have been seen and collected before in books like “Kurt Cobain: Journals,” published by Riverhead Books, and in films such as the documentary Montage of Heck, but the exhibit, hosted at the UTA Artists Space booth, will show two unseen works by the late singer.
One of the pieces being shown wound up as the album art for Nirvana’s 1992 b-sides collection Incesticide. The painting, which depicts a ribcage-less skeleton holding poppies and being tugged at by a doll with a cracked-open skull, is a microcosm of many of the themes Cobain wrote and sang about throughout his career.
Other pieces include several of Cobain’s disturbing and humorous comics, sketches of guitars, and an abstract painting called “Crackbabies” with Nirvana’s name on it, which portrays a fetus smoking out of a bong in utero.
UTA’s website explains, “UTA is pleased to announce its booth for this year’s Seattle Art Fair, featuring two never-before-seen paintings by Nirvana frontman and Seattle grunge legend Kurt Cobain. While obviously best known as a musician, Cobain experimented with painting and drawing throughout his short life, de-veloping an iconography and darkly humorous style mirrored in his music.”
Head of UTA Fine Arts Josh Roth says, “Kurt Cobain was perhaps the most iconic musician of his generation, but his work as a visual artist is often overlooked. These paintings provide an opportunity to see him, and some of his contemporaries, in a new light.”
Courtney Love, Cobain’s widow, seems determined to keep her late husband’s memory alive. The 2015 documentary Montage of Heck features stark home video recordings of Cobain that manage to be illuminating, inspiring, funny, macabre and, at times, deeply sad. Though Love’s name is not officially attached to the film, many of the videos were hers and she promoted the film when it premiered at Sundance.
Now Love has sanctioned this new exhibit and has joined up with UTA to help further tell Cobain’s story through art. UTA director Jonathan Roth said he’s planning to “create a touring exhibition that really tells the story of who Kurt was through artworks, personal artifacts and memorabilia, sort of like what the Rolling Stones did in London.”
Cobain and Love’s daughter, Francis Bean Cobain, who wasn’t yet two years old when Cobain committed suicide, has also been a part of showing her father’s creativity to the world. She executive produced Montage of Heck and she was also showing her own personal art at Gallery 30 South in Pasadena, CA, called “Ghosts For Sale.”
Preview UTA’s Cobain collection below, via Rolling Stone.