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EMP Nirvana Exhibit Includes Artwork by Kurt Cobain

Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses is currently on display at Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle. The exhibition, curated by EMP’s Jacob McMurray, features rare and unseen pieces from the band, their crews and families, including candid snapshots, never displayed artwork, smashed guitars, signed lyrics and more. Among the items displayed is original artwork by Nirvana singer, songwriter and guitarist Kurt Cobain.

Punk American Gothic painting by Kurt Cobain
Punk American Gothic painting by Kurt Cobain

Kobain is said to have excelled at painting and drawing as young as five years old. His interest in artwork continued into his teenage years. The item posted here is of a never-before exhibited, high school painting by Kurt Cobain of “two aging, Reagan-era punks in the post-apocalypse, informally known as ‘punk American gothic.'” In recent years his childhood artwork has sold for thousands of dollars at auction.

Other Kurt Cobain items in the exhibition are his handwritten lyrics for Nirvana songs including “Spank Thru” and “Floyd the Barber” and pieces of the first guitar Cobain destroyed onstage (a Univox Hi-Flyer).

Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses opened April 16, 2011 and continues through April 22, 2013.

See also Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain at

Visit the Pop Life Art homepage for links to many more musicians that paint.