Kurt Cobain & Il Grunge: The Story of a Revolution. Photographs by Michael Lavine and Charles PetersonFavoriteLoadingAggiungi

From 8 of June to 1 of July, MArTA – TARANTO
Kurt Cobain & Il Grunge: The Story of a Revolution. Photographs by Michael Lavine and Charles Peterson
© Michael Lavine

© Michael Lavine

Nirvana like they’ve never been seen. There will also be six new unpublished shots in the exhibition «Kurt Cobain & Il Grunge: The Story of a Revolution. Photographs by Michael Lavine and Charles Peterson», to be held from Friday, June 8 to July 1 at the National Archaeological Museum of Taranto (MarTa), as part of Medimex 2018, which this year has among its headliners a symbol of Post-Grunge, Placebo, scheduled for Friday, June 8 on the stage of the Rotonda del Lungomare, where on Thursday June 7 the fathers of electronic music Kraftwerk will arrive for the sole Italian date of their 3D show. The events of the International Festival & Music Conference promoted by Puglia Sounds, the Puglia Region’s programme for the development of the regional music system, this year will bring to Taranto live concerts, professional activities, Meetings with the Artist, workshops, exhibitions and, notably, the exhibition «Kurt Cobain & Il Grunge».

In fact, the most important museum in the world dedicated to Magna Graecia and its civilisation will open its doors to testimony from the recent musical past and build an ideal bridge between the capital of Grunge, Seattle, and the city of the two seas, Taranto, where in 1989 Soundgarden passed through almost unobserved for a concert now considered a posthumous event. They are one of the most representative bands of that musical scene, which the exhibition narrates on the backdrop of images of Nirvana.

The exhibition, organised by ONO Arte Contemporanea, includes seventy-eight photos displayed in two sections: in the first, thirty-eight images taken by Charles Peterson, which focus on the story of the birth of Nirvana, live concerts and the Grunge scene, in the second, other forty shots by Michael Lavine extracted from posed shoots and other images for magazines. The unpublished photos are divided equally, three for each of the two authors.

© Michael Lavine

© Michael Lavine

However, the exhibition does not only retrace the story of Nirvana from its beginnings to global success, from the first indie concerts to their full consecration with the help of MT, which broadcast the first on-repeat videos of the group, bringing them to every corner of the world. «Kurt Cobain & Il Grunge» also traces the various stages of the Seattle music scene, where in the ’80s the now famous independent label Sub Pop gave visibility not only to Nirvana, but also to Mudhoney and, notably, to Soundgarden.

Through the story of a successful band, the exhibition widens in scope to make a socio-political analysis of America in the late ’80s, from the crisis of the hedonism of the Reagan era and the American dream of the suburbs to the end of the Cold War and the rise of new economic actors typical of the New Economy like Microsoft and Starbucks, born precisely in the same city of Seattle from which Nirvana originated.

And it is in this context that, with the photos of Lavine and Peterson, the human story of Cobain is told, a man born and raised in a broken family and left with no solid reference points who became the singer of a generation of losers.

Michael Lavine, a famous advertising photographer, over the last twenty-five years has shot some of the most iconic photographs of the entertainment world along with some of the most famous record covers and has realised some of Kurt Cobain’s most famous portraits. Indeed, he has immortalized Nirvana in the studio on four separate occasions ranging from the early months just after the band was formed, when the drummer was still Chad Channing, before Dave Grohl, to the years of their global success, when Cobain’s wife Courtney Love was at his side: shots that became a symbol of an era.

Born in 1963 in San Francisco, Lavine is one of the most sought after photographers in the world of show business and entertainment. After high school, he moved to the Pacific Northwest to attend Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where he graduated in 1985 before moving to New York to attend the Parsons School of Design, where he earned his BFA. It was while he was in Washington that Lavine became one of the photographers of the nascent Grunge music scene.

His pop and glossy style led quickly to his being hired to shoot album covers. Lavine immediately made friends with many of the band members of the Grunge scene, first of all with Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, which gave him privileged access and the chance to create a visual record of the group. He accompanied them into the studio during all the stages of their rise to fame, up until just a few days from the death of Cobain himself.

Lavine’s career continued with great success in the Hip Pop music scene. One of his most famous photos is the cover of the album «Life After Death» by The Notorious B.I.G., released fifteen days after the murder of the rapper and taken in front of a hearse, a macabre presage of future events.

Since 1988 Lavine has been photographing artists in the world of music and entertainment, film and television productions, but also political and sports events, in addition to shots of daily life in the United States. His style, characterized by the use of bold saturated colours, dynamic and extreme lighting and by his awareness of graphic composition, have made him one of today’s most sought after photographers and his career is studded with awards.

© Charles Peterson

© Charles Peterson

While on one hand, Lavine’s images define the most significant moments of the bands in our collective imagination, Peterson’s photographs document their career step by step, from their first coming together to the first concerts in disreputable clubs and university campuses, to international stages, up to the last months of Kurt Cobain’s life, portrayed in intimate images that clearly show how the weight of success had taken its toll on the young artist.

And in fact, Charles Peterson’s contribution was essential not only for the story of Nirvana, but also for the birth of Grunge. Among the protagonists who helped create the Seattle underground music scene, the fifty-year-old photographer from Longview (in Washington State) joined Bruce Pavitt and Jack Poneman, founders of Sub Pop Records, who asked Peterson to become the label’s official photographer. However, Peterson did not just testify to the nascent scene with live or studio photos. By using a highly personal style, he created his own trademark that soon become unmistakable: his high power flashes were able to pierce the darkness of the clubs and at the same time isolate the subjects in a classic and iconic way. Peterson immediately realized, however, that in addition to the band, the Grunge audience was just as interesting. He then turned the lens to the opposite side of the stage and portrayed a whole generation of fans who remain in our collective imagination, an integral part of what was the last revolution that took place in popular culture. Peterson managed to capture the atmosphere of that extraordinary period like no other photographer. And it is no coincidence, therefore, that his photos are displayed in many American museums, including the Seattle Music Experience, as well as in selected European galleries. There are also many films and documentaries on Grunge and Kurt Cobain that have used Peterson images. These include «The Last 48 hours of Kurt Cobain» (2007), «Seven ages of rock» (2007), «Montage of Heck» (2015) and «Too young to die: Kurt Cobain »(2012).

Museum prices:
Ticket price € 8.00
Discount ticket price € 4.00
Admission free for visitors under the age of 18
First Sunday of each month free admission for all
Discounts and exemptions as per regulations

Information and reservations:
Tel./fax 099-4538639 E-mail: prenotazioni@novaapulia.it

Museum Opening Days and Hours:
The Museum is open every day from Monday to Sunday from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm, ticket office closes at 7:00 pm and visitors must exit the rooms at 7:15 pm.
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