Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Come as You Are: Jesse Frohman's Kurt Cobain and Nirvana Photo Exhibition Preview Party

By: Anne M. Raso

Because NYC is all about hitting multiple parties every night, the same night as the Rica Swimwear launch, I went to the press preview party at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in Soho for a wonderful series of Kurt Cobain pics collectively titled "Come As You Are" by popular music photographer Jesse Frohman. The night was actually the 18th anniversary of the Nirvana frontman's death, so it was a bittersweet night. The large photos all taken in November 1983 are pricey (most are $12,000) and several are "colorized" a la the famous Andy Warhol style.

Frohman's insightful portrait of an idol transcends the nature of celebrity photography. The pictures are as humanizing as they are glorifying. Cobain appears as a goofily provocative iconoclast, with his vintage air force cap, Jackie O. sunglasses and leopard jacket, while revealing a more depressing side of the life of a great artist dependent on drugs. Like Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain died both at an early age and at the pinnacle of his career. These photographs, captured near the time of his death, provide a fascinating insight into the end of the life of a rock star.
My personal favorite shot is the one of Kurt waiting for a car on the street before Nirvana's sound check for a surprise Roseland gigon November 15, 1993. He's holding a bottle of clear liquor and the leopard coat from Frohman's photo session in a garment bag. I was sad I could not go to the "after party" for Frohman's opening night at the Tribeca Grand, but I had to move on to Event #3 of night, the wonderful annual Varli Food Festival at the Metropolitan Pavilion!
For more info on the "Come As You Are" exhibit, go to; the exhibit will run at the gallery, located at 124 Price Street, through April 24, 2012.

Photos: Jesse Frohman/Morrison Hotel Gallery, Anne M. Raso

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