Article Review by Lydia Bell (photographs) and Jordan Miller (writing)
Thank you for the tragedy. I need it for my art.
– Kurt Cobain
Inside every creator, every artist, there is a purpose. A mindful thought or reason for what they’re birthing to the world. Some artists know this precisely, while others find inspiration in not knowing. It builds a sense of mystery or longing, which fuels the soul process to an elevation only few have had opportunity to exercise. Luckily for us, our society tends to preserve the life of these creators for our later generations to learn from or better understand; how or possibly why they were capable of reaching that rare and organic place.
Cornered in the Lower East Queen Anne section of downtown Seattle, a distinctive and vivid building sits just a handful of steps away from the iconic Space Needle. The Museum of Pop Culture holds within it, a modernized style of exhibits that depict some of our greatest cultural pioneers. Rooted deeply around music; Rock n’ Roll in particular, two exhibits hold true to this non-profit museum. Whether you were raised on MTV or listened to an FM radio in the hills of Carolina, chances are you’ve heard of the band, Nirvana. In the late 80’s, the rock band made a name for themselves during the boom of the Seattle grunge scene, that led to a cultural movement amongst many. “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses”, is one the museums most treasured exhibits that showcase the bands existence. The exhibit features passionate photography of images that will bring a behind-the-scenes moment to present day; along with emotional memorabilia that truly shows exactly how powerful music can be. Nirvana’s music.
Dating 20 years prior to Nirvana’s call to fame, a young Jimi Hendrix was paving a path by reaching elements of music and playing that none had experienced before. If you ask any guitarist today, to name a few of their inspirations, you are more than likely going to hear Jimi Hendrix on the list. He was a mysterious, yet calm and cool figure amongst the music scene, and was not afraid to experiment with sounds that had yet to be presented to the public’s ear at that time. To some, he is considered heroic or godlike, but the museums “Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970” exhibit will leave you with a sense of knowing the person behind the sweat covered bandana and wicked guitar riffs.
There’s an argument that could be had, emphasizing Kurt Cobain (lead singer of Nirvana) and Jimi Hendrix hosted personal similarities that only the two of them could reveal if they were to have a conversation in present day. Did these two artists truly ever know what their purpose was when creating music? Did they realize in those creative moments, that what they were doing went beyond the music and would live well beyond their life? Both are left handed guitarists, Seattle natives, and sadly, both left this world at the young age of 27.
If you are planning a trip to the Seattle area, music lover or not, these two exhibits at the Museum of Pop Culture is a must-see, and will inspire you through pure muse emotions. Still to this day, and even more so, we lose some of our greatest artists only to find they dealt with internal demons that came with searching for their purpose. When, in reality, they were living their purpose the entire time. This museum reveals that.