David Bowie Exhibition (reprinted from ‘That’s Not My Age‘)
Bowie Mania has come to town – and I like it. Record advance ticket sales (an astounding 47 thousand) for the V&A’s exhibition and a number one album highlight this 66-year old superstar’s enduring appeal. From the Ziggy Stardust neon flash in the foyer, to the floor-to-ceiling surround-sound Bowie Fest in the penultimate room, this exhibition documents the artist’s life, sound and vision-style. And if there’s one artist who’s life is worth documenting in a world-class museum, here he is. Stereo headphones for the soundtrack – thankfully there’s no Tin Machine – and banks of video screens for the Man Who Fell To Earth visuals, immerse visitors in the World of Bowie.
More than 300 objects from His Majesty’s personal archive – wonky handwritten lyrics, naive sketches, even a crumpled up tissue with Bowie’s lipstick on it (much redder than you’d imagine) – are on show for the first time. I’m not a fan of blockbuster shows, Art Rage is something I can live without, but it was worth being jostled by journalists and clobbered by cameramen at this exclusive preview. I loved seeing the stage costumes, over 60 of them – the teeny tiny waisted, pale blue suit from his Life On Mars video, the Aladdin Sane knitted all-in-one, designer gear from McQueen, Mugler and Slimane – plus photos and videos of the artist’s many guises, are a reminder of Bowie’s radical individualism and his massive influence on fashion, style and popular culture. Not that we ever needed one.
|Knitted Love: Aladdin Sane|
|Remember when everyone wore Bowie pants?|
|Diamond Dogs suit.|
|Photo: Terry O’Neil.|
Towards the end of the show there’s a ‘David Bowie is all around you’ installation, highlighting his impact on musicians/artists/fashion designers/Tilda Swinton, and The Periodic Table of Bowie by Paul Robertson (poster available in the museum shop).
As the Jon Savage quote goes, ‘David Bowie has lasted. To the public he is beyond a pop star.’
And now I’m off for a lie down. I’ll be dreaming of BBC2’s feature length profile on Bowie scheduled for May.
- Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane or Thin White Duke: Which David Bowie are you? Find out with our outstanding flowchart (mirror.co.uk)
- David Bowie Is… (stylebubble.co.uk)
- Cameron needs a lesson in style from Bowie (thetimes.co.uk)
- Did David Bowie change attitudes? (bbc.co.uk)
- Weak List Wednesday: The 5 Best Bowies (littlebylisten.com)
- David Bowie Through the Years (slate.com)
- David Bowie Aladdin Sane Remastered For 40th Anniversary (noise11.com)
- V&A exhibition shows how David Bowie shaped fashion history (guardian.co.uk)