Sunday, November 6, 2011

More Subversive Art: 90's Punk Bank Nirvana & FairVote's Board Chair Krist Novoselic

Maryland Juice is currently in Seattle, Washington and decided to check out more subversive art -- but this time it is a flashback to my teenage years. The city's Experience Music Project museum is currently hosting an exhibit titled Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses.

Notably, Nirvana's bassist Krist Novoselic is Chairman of the Board at my former employer, Takoma Park-based Fairvote. Before I discuss the Nirvana exhibit, I encourage you to check out this quick video statement from Mr. Novoselic on the motivations for his recent political activism. The video was taped shortly after Barack Obama won the 2008 Presidential Election:

In any case, as a result of my past work with this pioneering musician, I was intrigued to discover the deep political roots of Nirvana, stretching back to the band members' high school years. The exhibit included this high school art piece from the late Kurt Cobain, which appears to depict President Reagan making a fascist salute:

This may be one of the more obvious bits of political protest in the Nirvana exhibit, but in essence the entire presentation is really about the role of art in reshaping society. The curators went to great lengths to interview a range of influential artists about the impact of Nirvana on the music industry, popular tastes, fashion, rebellion and more. Indeed, in much the same way members of Nirvana were apparently influenced by coming of age in the Reagan-era, it seems difficult to understate the impact of Nirvana and music on some of us coming of age in the early 90's. (In Washington, D.C. that was preceded by the highly political music of Fugazi and Ian MacKaye, who make numerous appearances in the Nirvana exhibit).

What better place to house such an exhibit than in an unconventional Frank Gehry-designed structure:

Another cool feature of the building, is that a monorail track (which dates back to the 1962 Seattle World's Fair) cuts through the museum:

Transit, punk rock, and Frank Gehry. What a combo!

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