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Ziggy Stardust struts anew in David Bowie exhibition

  • “David Bowie and William Burroughs,” (1974) photograph by Terry O’Neill, courtesy of The David Bowie Archive 2012.

LONDON: Ziggy Stardust’s multicolored jumpsuit, a Union Jack coat, more than 50 other outlandish stage costumes, handwritten lyrics and album artwork from British singer David Bowie will go on show in London.

The exhibition “David Bowie Is” will run from March 23 to July 28 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in central London and aims to explore the singer’s creative process across five decades, featuring more than 300 objects.

The exhibition has been in the making for two and half years and will form one of the museum’s major shows next year.

“It’s about a person who through their art, design and performance, I think, has affected the way we live now,” co-curator Victoria Broackes said. “It’s not designed as a retrospective. It’s designed in the present tense. So, we do look at themes within his career that come back and forth, but what we want, is when you leave the exhibition, you have a sense of how Bowie has changed your world and the fact that there are elements of what he has done all around you.”

Alongside Ziggy Stardust’s jumpsuit, will be more than 60 stage costumes such as a Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen for his “Earthling” album cover and Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto’s decadent creations for his “Aladdin Sane” tour in 1973.

Visitors will be able to see Bowie’s handwritten lyrics, photography, films, music videos as well as his set designs, instruments and album artwork.

“What we find at the V&A which is really great, is that despite living in a digital world, where so many things are possible at arms length, actually seeing objects up close is still absolutely thrilling” Broackes added. “I think that’s an interesting process, to be able to actually look at the designs and how they created the finished object.”

Much of the collection that will feature in the exhibition will come from the David Bowie Archive, the first time a museum has been granted access to the musician’s private collection.

“We are thrilled to be hosting this exhibition of the world’s most creative artist,” said V&A director Martin Roth, who defended recent criticism that the show was not in keeping with the museum’s art and design agenda.

“The V&A is uniquely placed to put on this exhibition. We are the world’s No. 1 museum on art and design. We’re also very, very strong on performance and theater. Theater and performance came back to the museum in 2007, so David Bowie fits perfectly within that genre.”

Bowie dismissed rumors that he was involved in the show. “Contrary to recent reports,” he said on his Facebook page, “I ... did not participate in any decisions relating to the exhibition.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 11, 2012, on page 16.
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