Niagara is the special guest artist for this year's Dirty Show

Jan 9, 2020 at 8:47 am
click to enlarge Niagara. - Boswell Hardwick
Boswell Hardwick

Punk rocker-turned-fine artist Niagara has been named the special guest artist for this year's Dirty Show erotic art exhibition in Detroit.

It's the second time a local artist was named guest artist; last year, Glenn Barr earned the distinction. Previous Dirty Show guest artists include national and international artists like H.R. Giger, Bunny Yeager, David Černý, Colin Christian, and John Waters.

"Jerry Vile (the show's respected founder) has been thinking large about the current rise of female empowerment. Personally, I've always taken it for granted," Niagara said in a statement. "'Sexy' can be dirty, tough, smart, rough, scary, or beautiful. I'm here to help. And to party."

"It's really good because I needed somebody that would be in the museum world," Vile tells Metro Times. "And Niagara should be. Her original bandmates are, you know, some of the biggest names in the art world."

In the early 1970s, Niagara formed the influential band Destroy All Monsters with fellow University of Michigan art students Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, and filmmaker Cary Loren, all of which have gone on to have successful careers as visual artists. Eventually, the band gained further notoriety after Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton and MC5's Michael Davis joined. (In fact, Niagara's art has been featured in museums, including the Rhode Island School of Design Museum.)

Niagara and Vile go way back. "I've known her for a really fucking long time — longer than there's been a Dirty Show," he says. "When I first met her, she was drawing these nude women that she doesn't do as much as she used to. But that's always, always what's been stuck in my brain when I think of her art."

click to enlarge Niagara's painting is the cover art for Kid Rock's First Kiss. - Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Niagara's painting is the cover art for Kid Rock's First Kiss.
More recently, Niagara has become known for her pop art-style paintings of femme fatales, many of which can be spotted adorning bars around town, including Northern Lights Lounge and Savant. One painting even became the cover of Kid Rock's 2015 album First Kiss.

As far as the Dirty Show goes, Vile is amazed it's still going strong after 21 years. "It's finally old enough to go to its own show," he says. While he's still firming up details for this year's edition, which returns to Detroit's Russell Industrial Center from Feb. 7-15, attendees should expect erotic art in all mediums, spanking booths, bondage demonstrations, the "Daddy Hole" pop-up leather daddy bar, and more.

Tickets start at $40 and are available here.

Get our top picks for the best events in Detroit every Thursday morning. Sign up for our events newsletter.