Photography exhibit and afterparty celebrate the life of Nirvana frontman
If you were forced to distill Kurt Cobain’s legacy to a single fact, it would probably be his longevity as the poet laureate of teen angst for Generation X and Y. Like many distinguished artists before him, his career was a veritable soap opera — a mishmash of sordid lows accompanied by compelling highs all painstakingly scrutinized under the high-powered electron microscope of public life.
His relationship with Courtney Love is infamous, but his rockiest love affair was with the media. Yes, journalists, pundits, and other professional fearmongers dissected, over-analyzed, and followed his every move with a stalker’s tenacity, but it’s possible that a part of him relished and even courted the controversy (i.e., songs with not-so-subtle-but-still-altogether-clever titles like “Rape Me”, anyone?) What is undeniable is the grave toll that his tumultuous relationship with the media – which was exasperated by a crippling addiction to heroin and parental stress – cost him at the end.
There are probably hundreds of think pieces about the Nirvana frontman and this is definitely not one of them. What needed to be said about Kurt Cobain has already been said countless times before. Cobain has managed to survive his death through song and now through image, thanks to photographer Jesse Frohman. On Thursday, April 5, Frohman unveiled a collection of photographs of the grunge superstar at the Morrison Hotel Gallery. The photos were taken over the course of a day in November 1993 while the band was on tour for their album In Utero.
The exhibition commemorates the death of Cobain, who took his life on April 5, 1994, at the age of 27. The showing was followed by an after party at Tribeca Grand Hotel with a performance by downtown rock stalwarts and hearth-throbs to every woman in this city, The Virgins, and a DJ set by Pulp frontman and Britpop hero, Jarvis Cocker.
Although the exhibition was a touching way to further immortalize the idol, the after party more accurately encapsulated the youthful spirit of the Nirvana frontman. Not to take anything away from Frohman’s photography, but when The Virgins finished their set and Jarvis Cocker blared “The Man That Sold the World” through the hotel speakers, the energy that permeated in the mixed young crowd dancing on the hotel’s couches revealed itself as true testament to the singer’s impact. Teen spirit prevailed and Cobain survives his death—this time through the vibrancy of the youth he inspired.