The meat of Kurt is two rooms containing a burial and a heavy-metal drumkit landscape.
The burial (foreground, with speakers jutting out of its central hub) is Sam Durant's 1999 model of Robert Smithson's 1970 earthwork Partially Buried Woodshed, which Smithson built at Kent State just before the shootings there—and which then became a memorial to the victims, and to the cultural cracking the violence represented. Neil Young wrote about the shootings in a song ("Ohio"), and Cobain quoted another Young song ("My My, Hey Hey") in his suicide note; in Durant's version, the earthwork has been adapted into a stereo console. CD players are tucked into it, and the speakers play songs by Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, and Nirvana, and each speaker sits under its own spotlight.
Visible behind that is Banks Violette's shiny black deconstructed drum kit on a shiny black platform with shiny black stalagmites growing out of it, as if the drum kit Kurt is seen falling into in near-life-sized photographs at the entrance to the exhibition (by Charles Peterson) has since congealed into a dark force of nature. Pencil drawings hang on the walls flanking the drums, and they are quite beautiful; the one visible on the back wall here is titled Spotlight (blackhole), and it depicts a spotlight as flat negative space in a field of glowing graphite. Capping the installation is a cold, hard geometric wall painting in black and white based on a graphic taken from Judas Priest (a band blamed for the suicides of two young men in 1985).
It's a dark show, that Kurt. My review is up now. See the jump for Sam Durant's deliciously nerdy Klein diagram on Smithson, Cobain, Young, and the Rolling Stones. (Sculpture in the collapsed field?)
*This post has been updated.