Kurt Cobain’s private possessions to go on display in Kildare

Smells Like Teen Spirit sweater and Cobain’s early sketches to have worldwide premiere at Kildare museum

An exhibition dedicated to late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain opens in Ireland next month, showcasing a selection of the grunge rock singer's belongings curated by his family. Photos: Photofest/Cobain Family Archives

 

The first public exhibition of some of Kurt Cobain’s personal items is be put on display this summer at the Museum of Style Icons in Newbridge, Co Kildare.

In what may seem on the face of it an unlikely pairing, a personal family collection of items belonging to the late lead singer and guitarist of Nirvana, who died in 1994, is on its way to the Kildare Museum, where it will be unveiled to the world for the first time on July 19th.

Growing Up: Kurt Cobain includes the top he wore in the video for Smells Like Teen Spirit – their breakthrough song – hand-written lyrics, sketches he made as a child and as a teenager, childhood toys and awards, and the only car he was known to have owned, a powder blue 1965 Dodge Dart.

Cobain’s family – his mother Wendy O’Connor, sisters Kim Cobain and Olivia O’Connor, and his 25-year-old daughter Frances Bean Cobain – are coming to Newbridge to open the exhibition.

Kurt Cobain's sweater worn in Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit video
Kurt Cobain's sweater worn in Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit video
Kurt Cobain's powder-blue 1965 Dodge Dart car
Kurt Cobain's powder-blue 1965 Dodge Dart car

So how did it come about that Kurt Cobain’s private collection will first be seen in a small Kildare town?

William Doyle, owner of the museum at Newbridge Silverware, met the Cobain family at an event in LA last summer, and they hit it off. The Cobains, who are very conscious of their Irish roots, decided to curate an exhibition of the singer’s possession’s for display at the museum, which said the family chose Newbridge because of the Irish connection, and because they trust it will not exploit Kurt Cobain’s name but treat the collection with respect.

His daughter Frances Bean Cobain, said she is thrilled to participate and support her family as they honour their brother and son. “I have always been the most intimately informed of who my father was by my grandmother and aunts. I am so ecstatic that their view of who Kurt was gets to be celebrated with Nirvana fans the world over”.

His sister Kim said she hoped the exhibition will “bring the focus back to Kurt’s roots, vision, and artistic genius to inspire everyone not to lose their creativity and childlike wonder”.

Kurt Cobain early artwork of Creature From The Black Lagoon
Kurt Cobain early artwork of Creature From The Black Lagoon
Kurt Cobain drawing of Disney characters
Kurt Cobain drawing of Disney characters
Kurt Cobain's signed drawing of Fred Flintstone, from about 1974
Kurt Cobain's signed drawing of Fred Flintstone, from about 1974

Kurt Cobain believed his family came from Co Cork but in fact his Irish ancestors emigrated from Carrickmore, Co Tyrone, in 1875. The American singer, songwriter, and musician from Aberdeen, Washington, formed the band Nirvana in 1987 with Krist Novoselic and Aaron Burckhard, who was later replaced by Dave Grohl. They were part of the Seattle grunge scene and Nirvana weere seen as the flagship band of Generation X, with Cobain the spokesman of a generation. Their debut album, Nevermind, released in 1981, has sold more that 75 million copies worldwide and they were inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of fame in 2014. Cobain’s death aged 27 in Seattle on April 8th 1994 was ruled a suicide.

William Doyle says : “These items have never previously been seen by the public and it’s an incredible honour to be a part of this amazing exhibition. We expect this exhibition of Kurt’s life to be one of our greatest exhibitions.”

The Museum of Style Icons opened on June 1st 2007 and has built up its collection of artefacts, letters, clothing and photos from the worlds of fashion, cinema and pop culture. It house items from Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Kim Kardashian.

Growing Up: Kurt Cobain opens at the Museum of Style Icons, Newbridge, Co Kildare, on July 19th and runs till September 30th. newbridgesilverware.com/museum

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