Niagara (born August 23, 1956) is a musician and a painter. She was the lead vocalist of the punk rock bands Destroy All Monsters and Dark Carnival.
While attending the University of Michigan in 1974, Niagara, along with Mike Kelley, formed Destroy All Monsters. D.A.M. was active until 1985, earning international recognition due largely to the presence of former members of The Stooges and the MC5. Niagara soon after fronted the supergroup Dark Carnival (also with Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton, and brother Scott Asheton Stooges drummer). Niagara, currently with backing from Australian band, The Hitmen, performs rock performances in Australia, Tokyo, with a European tour scheduled for 2009.
Niagara utilized her art school experience in creating album and promotional art for Destroy All Monsters / Dark Carnival performances. Combining an illustrator’s hand with some collage and pop iconography, Niagara’s style began to take shape in earnest during these years, and by the early 90′s she was beginning to show in small exhibits and cafes around the Detroit area.
It was during this time that Niagara teamed up with the Detroit gallery CPop in 1996. Her first exhibits “All Men Are Cremated Equal” (1996) and “Faster Niagara, Kill…Kill” (1997) were breakout shows which garnered her regional praise . Soon art periodicals such as Juxtapoz were heralding her as “The Queen Of Detroit” and many successful exhibits would follow in other cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Tokyo to name but a few. “The Niagara Girl,” who appears in many female guises, would come to represent feminist swagger with drop dead gorgeous looks and an equally dangerous demeanor. Hard-boiled, tough talking gals who would rather dispatch a man than put up with any of his antics. Her bold and colorful post-pulp comic strip countenances of femme fatales in various depictions of malfeasence was culturally soldified by Callie Khoury’s Thelma and Louise, which shares a kindred spirit with Niagara’s subjects, along with pin-up girls like Bettie Page and the bad side of 40′s and 50′s film icons such as Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall and Jane Greer.
That’s for Your Bad Manners
11 in. x 14 in.
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In 2002, Niagara’s work began to stray away from the gun-toting, booze swilling Femme fatale to a more intricate “Opium Series”. Still decidedly feminine, but the violence was turned inward, as world-weary, flapper-esque beauties are depicted in druggy repose amidst swirling opium fumes, full of Chinese patterns and applique make the series her most detailed and introspective work to date.
In 2006, a career retrospective of her art and music was chronicled in her coffee table tome “Beyond The Pale” (9mm Books).
In 2006 Niagara had her first UK exhibition at Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester England. Niagara returned in 2008 for a show titled The Good, The Bad, & The Beautiful. Outre’ Gallery in Australia have also produced a set of Niagara silkscreened limited edition prints exclusively for the gallery to coincide with Niagara’s sold out shows in Sydney and Melbourne in 2008. Niagara premiered a full clothing line with the avant garde couturier Hysteric Glamour to coincide with her opening in Tokyo in 2007. Also unveiled in 2008 was Niagara’s collaboration with Vans. The result was Vans Vault Series that featured seven unique styles of hip urban footwear based on Niagara designs which debuted in Paris 2008. In 2009 Niagara returns to the stage full time with tours of Australia, Europe, and United States. Niagara currently lives and works in the Detroit area.