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50 years since the birth of Kurt Cobain

What remains of grunge: the photographic exhibition "Kurt Cobain 50" opens today in Bologna

The 5th February will be the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Kurt Cobain (Aberdeen, 20th February 1967 – Seattle, 5th April 1994). The exhibition by Ono Arte Contemporanea in Bologna that opens from today, 13th December until 31st January 2018, comprises magnificent photos by Michael Lavine and celebrates the adventure of the whole music scene of Seattle, the city of Jimi Hendrix. “It’s the most exciting scene produced by one single city, that hasn’t happened since the days of London punk” (Everett True, the journalist who coined the term “grunge”). A nihilist movement, which developed against the backdrop of a dire economic crisis that in the 1980’s had brought the USA, scarred by heroin and AIDS, to its knees. From that America came a new sound that met the needs of those young people who no longer had a benchmark and who were fed up with watching English punk to find new ways of expression.

Kurt Cobain burst forth like a revolution, ushering in an era and a style: with ripped jeans, heavy flannel shirts and long hair, he was the ultimate in anti-fashion or do-it-yourself (imperative for the fashion of that period). Michael Lavine captures Nirvana in-studio in four different moments, from the months of their first formation, when Chad Channing was still on drums instead of Dave Grohl through to their years of worldwide success, when Kurt’s wife Courtney Love was there next to him, giving us shots that symbolise an era.

Alessandro Di Giacomo