Everyone: What is grunge? Select one video from the search-terms on the syllabus and reflect on what is being performed. Are there any similarities to Kurt Cobain (if you selected someone other than Nirvana)? Additionally, tell us why you think this type of musical performance was popular?
Group 1: After reading about Cindy Sherman and Sue William’s work do you see any similarities to the work of Kurt Cobain? Refer to both the video and the work of Sherman and Williams. Additionally, how would you categorize this art? Reflect on our semester investigating different cultures…are there any correlations to other artistic expressions?
Grunge fuses elements of punk rock and with heavy metal usually with various vocals that are harsh or appear lazy. Grunge musicians often demonstrated a look representative with apathy and disdain for a lot of what the world had to offer. I searched the band Sonic Youth which was a popular grunge band in the 80s/90s which had various similarities to Kurt Cobain. Specifically the song “Bull in the Heather” had similar sounds to various Kurt Cobain songs. The droning on of the vocals and the rough guitar in the background showcase a different style of music from the main stream pop.
After reading about Cindy Sherman and Sue William’s work I do see several similarities to Kurt Cobain and how their work criticizes various aspects of society. It was interesting to hear about Sherman’s Bus Riders photography which showed the individuals waiting in line for the bus, but the black riders were all given blackface to appear the same color. She was attempting to use visual irony by contrasting these passengers with that of the white individuals to show how even in today’s age companies still mistreat people based off race. Just as Kurt Cobain used his lyrics to talk about his dissatisfaction with parts of society so did she in her visual art.
Also, Sue William’s pieces showcase this various out side of the main stream often using feminist ideals in her art. She completed a piece titled “Are you pro porn or anti-porn?” demonstrated how women in pornographic films are being treated as objects for the desire of violent men. She relates this to young men viewing this film internalizing this issue and deciding that it is okay to treat women this way, even if it is acting. Kurt Cobain also used his music platform to point out other issues in society such as drug abuse and suicide.
I would categorize this art as a type of performance/social activism art as it is using various mediums to explore negative aspects of society. I think this is very similar to the punk music and culture that went against the mainstream societal norms, because it was causing pain by out-casting individuals. These punk rockers shunned mainstream culture and created their own outlet for expression by including all the “rejects” of mainstream society to create their own culture.