detail The “Mother of Punk Rock,” East German singer Nina Hagen. Shown in the “For the Love of Music” art exhibition, August 4–September 6, 2008, at the Middle East Club in Cambridge, MA.
Nina Hagen [wikipedia] was born in East Germany, and trained as a classical opera singer. She was able to arrange an exile in the West, and when she arrived in London in 1974, was quickly adopted by a circle that included The Slits and The Sex Pistols.
The portrait is a composite based on several photographs of the singer. She stands in front of a representation of the Berlin Wall, textured with sand and spackle. The graffiti is composed of fragments of her song lyrics. The title is taken from the song “Super Freak Family,” and the caption, “[der] Stadt ist tot” (“[the] city (Berlin) is dead”) is from her punk reimagining of “My Way.”
media Oil pastel, acrylic, inks, spackle, sand, spray paint, glitter, magazine clippings, embossing powder, antique WWI German soldier’s brass buckle embossed “GOTT MIT UNS” (“God is with us”), and plastic toy solders on canvas. 2008.