Tuesday, 4 September 2012

First Retrospective of David Bowie’s Career at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London

London’s Victoria & Albert museum (V&A) has been given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to curate the first international retrospective of the singer’s career. Opening on 23 March 2013, ‘David Bowie is’ will explore the creative processes of David Bowie as a musical innovator and cultural icon, tracing his shifting style and sustained reinvention across five decades. 

Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, design by Brian Duffy and Celia Philo, make up by Pierre La Roche (1973) © Duffy Archive

The V&A’s Theatre and Performance curators, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, have selected more than 300 objects that will be brought together for the very first time. They include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s own instruments and album artwork, which will be used to provide an in-depth look at how Bowie’s music and radical individualism has both influenced and been influenced by wider movements in art, design and contemporary culture.

The exhibition will explore the broad range of Bowie’s collaborations with artists and designers in the fields of fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, art and film. On display will be more than 60 costumes worn on stage, including Ziggy Stardust bodysuits (1972) designed by Freddie Burretti, Kansai Yamamoto’s flamboyant creations for the Aladdin Sane tour (1973) and the Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen for the Earthling album cover (1997). Also on show will be photography by Brian Duffy, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, John Rowlands, Terry O’Neill, and Masayoshi Sukita; album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert and Edward Bell; visual excerpts from films and live performances including The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Saturday Night Live (1979); music videos such as Boys Keep Swinging (1979) and Let’s Dance (1983) and set designs created for the Diamond Dogs tour (1974).

For more information, visit www.vam.ac.uk/davidbowieis.


Cut up lyrics for ‘Blackout’ from “Heroes”, David Bowie (1977) © The David Bowie Archive 2012

David Bowie and William Burroughs, photograph by Terry O’Neill, hand colouring by David Bowie (1974) Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive 2012

Original photography for the Earthling album cover; Union Jack coat designed by Alexander McQueen in collaboration with David Bowie (1997), photograph by Frank W Ockenfels 3. © Frank W Ockenfels 3

Photo collage of manipulated film stills from The Man Who Fell to Earth, design by David Bowie, film stills by David James (c1975-6), Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive 2012

Promotional shoot for The Kon-rads, photograph by Roy Ainsworth (1963), courtesy of The David Bowie Archive 2012

Self-portrait in pose also adopted for the album cover of “Heroes”, David Bowie (1978), © The David Bowie Archive 2012

Striped bodysuit for Aladdin Sane tour, design by Kansai Yamamoto, photograph by Masayoshi Sukita (1973), © Sukita / The David Bowie Archive 2012

The Archer Station to Station tour, photograph by John Rowlands (1976), © John Robert Rowlands

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