Banks Violette


The title for this sculpture is Dead Star Memorial Structure (on their hands at last a—4.1.94). The date in the title refers to Kurt Cobain's suicide, a theme that is the central narrative of my installation intended for the 2004 Whitney Biennial. The parenthetical quote in the title is taken from a Smiths song, "Paint a Vulgar Picture," which describes a fan's disappointment in their rock star of choice, a disappointment that switches to love when that same rock star dies. In some ways, that describes my relationship to Kurt Cobain, but it also describes, in part, Cobain's own motivation for his suicide— his identification with the "purity" of another star, Neil Young, and his eventual enactment of Young's quote, that it's better to "burn out than to fade away"—suicide becoming, for Cobain, the act of a fan blurring the line between a script and its real- life consequences. Drum kits function in my work as a screen for the violence that takes place when that line becomes blurred—they're what you beat to make something happen.