Seattle Art Fair Unveils Kurt Cobain’s Art, Notebooks & So Much More

The third Seattle Art Fair will take place August 3-6 at the CenturyLink Field Event Center. This year, there are 100 exhibitors, representing 30 cities from nine countries including 60 galleries from the Pacific Rim.

The weekend serves as a launchpad for artists and thinkers to move beyond the conventional booth model by activating historic sites around Pioneer Square and its surrounding neighborhood.

For the first time ever, a pair of Kurt Cobain’s paintings, including the canvas featured on the cover of Nirvana’s “Incesticide” compilation, will debut at the UTA Artist Space as part of the Fair.

The second art work is described as a distorted, expressionistic figure in the style of Edvard Munch, whose infamous work, “The Scream,” personified his psychological themes of late 19th-century Symbolism.

The visual arts division of the United Talent Agency (UTA) discovered Cobain’s artwork, which had been in storage since the musician’s death in April, 1994. The two paintings will be on exhibit, along with a selection of Cobain-owned notebooks. UTA is also working with his widow, Courtney Love, to create a touring exhibition of his art, which will include paintings, drawings, and sculptures.

Cobain’s artwork will be featured alongside artists like Raymond Pettibon, Dash Snow, Mike Kelley and Elizabeth Peyton as part of the UTA showcase. Although some of that art will be available for purchase, the Cobain art is sadly not available.

Seattle Art Fair 2015 on

Seattle Art Fair 2015

Curated by Laura Fried, Artistic Director of the Seattle Art Fair, the program will include talks, films, performances, immersive installations and experiences.

Events are spread throughout the neighborhood, with large-scale works by local and international artists, and daily artist dialogues. This year, the installations and experiences will examine the many ways today’s artists engage with architecture and design and public space, as well as the histories and conditions of social activism.

A collection of solo projects will be on-site at the fair, presented by an inter-generational group of artists whose art focuses on blending installation and performance. The CenturyLink Field Event Center will also host a series of discussions between artists and creative leaders with deep connections to the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest.

One of the more timely discussions at the Fair will take place between artist, musician, and filmmaker Clyde Petersen and Tariqa Waters, artist, curator, and founder of the art space, Martyr Sauce. The two will share their thoughts about past collaborations and their involvement in the Seattle arts community and beyond.

A transgender activist, Petersen is a Northwest artist, working in the fields of visual art, animation, music and adventure. His television series, “Boating with Clyde,” features musicians performing on the local waterways. Throughout the years, he has traveled the world, creating many animated music videos, rock and roll records, as well as large scale festivals and installations.

Waters’ Pioneer Square, pint-sized gallery, Martyr Sauce, literally consists of the street level foyer and staircase climbing up to her home—a second story suite of small business offices she and her husband Ryan have turned into an apartment. She and her art confront the public head-on artistically, as she puts it, “with a dash of Martyr Sauce’s signature piss and vinegar and irreverence.”

Petersen and Waters’ talk is scheduled for 1:30pm on Sunday, August 6th at CenturyLink Field Event Center (Sotheby’s Theater)

A collection of solo projects will be on-site at the fair presented by an inter-generational group of artists invested in blending installation and performance. The CenturyLink Field Event center will also host discussions between artists and creative leaders connected to the West Coast and Pacific Northwest.

Off-site projects will be presented throughout the surrounding neighborhood. They will address the visual language of public signage, through which art intersects to create a common citizenship.

Sean Barton, Untitled (Poppies and Carnations), 2017, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches offered by Seasons Art Gallery / Robert Yoder (cropped from original)

Sean Barton, Untitled (Poppies and Carnations), 2017, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches offered by SEASON (cropped from original)

Seattle will host the first installation of multiple works in a public urban setting. Highlights include Jenny Holzer’s “The Survival Series” (1984), cast-aluminum plaques, which will be integrated within the public architecture of Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square.

Known for her large-scale assemblages of found objects, Nancy Rubins will present a selection of studies of her large-scale sculptures, scaled down for the viewer—1 ½ inches equal 1 foot. A system of compression and tension is utilized in the sculptures. Architect Buckminster Fuller coined the term “tenegrity” to describe this technique. It has also been called “floating compression.”

Sculptor Sean Townley will install his large floor-based sculpture, “7 Diadems” (2016). Visitors will be able to interact with boulder-size copies of partial head molds made from a monumental ancient sculpture of the Roman Juno.

Seattle Art Fair 2016 | Image: Lara Swimmer

Seattle Art Fair 2016 | Image: Lara Swimmer

Seattle’s historic Union Station will be transformed into a multimedia exhibit by Los Angeles-based Dylan Mira and Erika Vogt’s “Pool” (2017).  A combination of videos, performances, architectural models, and sculptural platform, inspired by historical and contemporary spa materials.

Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly will host the world premiere of their new film, “Modern Living” (2016-ongoing), a choreographic, two-channel installation. It began with two-site specific choreographed performances: at the R.M. Schindler House in Los Angeles, the site of an early experiment in communal living, and the Glass House in New Canaan, where the architect Philip Johnson and his partner David Whitney lived for over 40 years. The film explores intimacy and queer space within legacies of modernist architecture.

A special beneficiary preview will be held on Thursday, August 3, 5:30pm-9pm, These tickets are pricey–$150, but a portion of the funds raised will be shared between Coyote Central and Arts Corps’ Creative Schools Initiative. Coyote Central provides access for under served and immigrant youth to intensive hands-on art courses with professional artists. Arts Corps boosts creativity and strengthens academic learning for students in grades K-8 by integrating fine arts into the classroom setting.

This year’s Art Fair dealer committee is comprised of Lidia Andich (Gagosian Gallery), Robert Goff (David Zwirner Gallery), James Harris (James Harris Gallery), William Hathaway (Night Gallery), Greg Kucera (Greg Kucera Gallery), and Elizabeth Sullivan (Pace Gallery).

The complete program schedule and locations can be found here.

The main Seattle Art Fair runs August 4-6 at CenturyLink Field Event Center and surrounding areas; Friday, August 4 (11am-7pm); Saturday, August 5 (11am-7pm); and Sunday, August 6 (12pm-6pm). Tickets are as follows: August 4-5 tickets are as follows: $50 Three-Day Ticket; $20 One-Day Ticket; $5 Teen Tickets; Kids 12 & Under Free. All tickets are available at  







Share this post

Starla Smith

Starla Smith

Starla Smith is a career journalist, writing features for such publications as The New Yorker, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Daily News, The Des Moines Register, Vibe and a prize-winning Gannett Newspaper. She helped launch Theater Week Magazine and eventually became its publisher. As a regular contributor to Playbill, her interviews and photos were featured in Playbill and Playbill-on-line. Smith was featured in the New York Times "Style" section for her "Word Portraits," specialized tributes, speeches, and presentation profiles. And she covered theater and features for City Search, Digital City, and the Tena Duberry WOW! Radio show. She previously served as astrology guru for Out Magazine, and she hastens to assure her readers that "Starla" is indeed her real name.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

scroll to top