New York

Elizabeth Peyton

Gavin Brown's Enterprise | Downtown

If her charmingly antiquated paintings are any indication, Elizabeth Peyton harbors a major crush on the late, great Kurt Cobain. Peyton’s neo-Romantic works resonate with the kind of libidinal melancholia—or posthumous-sub-pop-hero-worship—commonly associated with fawning teenagers enamored of their idol’s sexy, nihilistic tendencies. Here, we are discreetly reminded that, pushing tendency into reality, Cobain blew his brains out in his Seattle home last spring.

While still alive, Kurt might have dwelled somewhat uncomfortably in the heart-shaped box of Courtney’s love, but he ended up in an a container with somewhat different dimensions. Through the agency of Peyton’s apparently heartfelt reminiscing, Kurt undergoes a symbolic resurrection: her oil-on-Masonite paintings of Cobain, based on photos found in magazines and images culled from videos, read like love letters cloyingly penned to

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.