Morrison Hotel Gallery’s ‘Grunge: Rise of a Generation’ Photo Exhibit Running Throughout March in LA, NYC and Maui

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

The “grunge” musical movement of the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s lent itself to some incredibly vibrant and eventually iconic imagery, and throughout the month of March the Morrison Hotel Gallery will celebrate that era of rock and roll with a special photo exhibit.

The unveiling of Grunge: Rise of a Generation was timed with Kurt Cobain‘s 52nd birthday last week, as the late Nirvana front man will obviously be a focal point of many of the photographs on display. But, of course, the exhibit will shine a light on several of the other key musical figures of the era, among them Soundgarden (and the late Chris Cornell), Pearl Jam and many more.

Photo prints of the images on display will be available for purchase at the exhibit and at the Morrison Hotel Gallery website.

From the official news release:

Among the photographs highlighted in the exhibit are images that encapsulate the unvarnished vibe that ran throughout the grunge scene. There from the beginning was Seattle-born photographer Lance Mercer who began documenting what was to be a seismic shift in American music and culture from its very onset. From 1991 to 1995, Mercer went on tour with Pearl Jam as their official photographer. During that time, he photographed the band’s elevation to legendary status – Eddie Vedder’s raw energy onstage juxtaposed with him relaxing backstage next to a bottle of booze, as well as the band posing in a pile on a Seattle hillside. From Alice in Chains onward, Mercer’s stunning work takes viewers back to a time when dirty and unpolished became the new paradigm in sound and style.  

Kurt Cobain photo by Henry Diltz, provided by Morrison Hotel Gallery

Kurt Cobain photo by Henry Diltz, provided by Morrison Hotel Gallery

A number of other extraordinary photographers were also poised to capture the grunge movement’s visual culture dating back to 1986 when Ebet Roberts photographed Sonic Youth performing onstage at NYC’s CBGB in a series of shots that would ultimately capture the infancy of the entire grunge era. Additionally, early images of Soundgarden by Karen Mason-Blair and Jay Blakesberg resonate with the many reasons the band would come to define the distinct Seattle sound, whether they show a long-haired Cornell and crew sweating and whipping the audience into a frenzy or crowd-surfing across a wave of fans. Furthermore, in one of the last official photo shoots with Nirvana before the untimely death of Kurt Cobain, Jesse Frohman captured a series of shots of the front man swathed in a leopard skin cardigan, hunting cap and oversized enamel sunglasses covering his head and face. Aloof yet strangely vulnerable and connected, these portraits draft the legacy of an unlikely icon.

“With Grunge: Rise of a Generation, we are not only celebrating the 30th anniversary of Nirvana’s Bleach, the 25th anniversary of Soundgarden’s Superunknown, or those artists whose contributions exist within the time capsule of a genre; we’re also celebrating the durational implications of a cultural phenomenon,” said Marcelle Murdock, Gallery Director. “Featuring the pioneering contributions of grunge predecessors like Sonic Youth in dialogue with the usual suspects like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Hole, and L7 among others, Grunge: Rise of a Generation provides the framework for a more holistic yet all-encompassing conversation between the super famous and the fringes of a definitive movement’s coming-of-age.”

Here’s a list of the photographers lending their art to the show, followed by a list of the musical acts represented in the show:

Richard Bellia
Jay Blakesberg
Justin Borucki
Danny Clinch
Henry Diltz
Jesse Frohman
Lynn Goldsmith
JJ Gonson
Bob Gruen
Karen-Mason Blair
Clay Patrick McBride
Catherine McGann
Lance Mercer
Dustin Rabin
Amy Rachlin
Ebet Roberts

Bands featured in the show:

Alice in Chains
Pearl Jam
Sonic Youth
Stone Temple Pilots

Grunge: Rise of a Generation will open to the public on March 8 and will run through March 31 at all Morrison Hotel Gallery locations:

Morrison Hotel Gallery
116 Prince Street || New York, NY 10012

Morrison Hotel Gallery
Sunset Marquis
1200 Alta Loma Road || West Hollywood, CA 90069

Morrison Hotel Gallery
Fleetwood’s General Store
744 Front Street || Lahaina, Hawaii 96761

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