I have to say straight out I am a David Bowie fan, I am one of those teenagers forever affected by the man, I went to St Martin’s School of Art, I spent my nights down the Blitz nightclub and many other New Romantic Soho haunts and in all fairness I am not going to be an impartial critic here of this incredible Bowie exhibition at the V&A Museum in London for the summer months.
What impressed me apart from the sheer amount of archive material on display was the insight into the planning and control of all his moves. While some of the lyrics were written on the day in the studio as it were, the tours, album covers and persona’s were so fully worked out beforehand that little was left to chance. It reminds you also how completely unafraid he was, in a fairly dangerous climate still at that time in the 70′s for the bi-sexuality he projected.
How on earth do you keep an invoice for a days recording at a studio for 40 years, I shred my accounts every year as they pass the 7yr deadline! Everything has been kept in Bowie’s career and it forms a fascinating tour through the show. The V&A’s biggest problem here will be how to keep the punters moving through the exhibits there is so much to see and linger over, its not just about the costumes, or the interactive music which plays the classic hits as you pass by exhibits but also the influences and techniques he used and there is a fair amount of film to watch too.
The end of the show is amazing, the huge projection screens held the hardened journo’s at the preview spellbound with many sitting for 20 minutes or more watching the archive footage from Top of The Pops and concerts. This is an exhibition to allow 2 hours to progress through as a minimum. The opening is the 23rd of March but It’s already sold out of advanced booking tickets till May, get your ticket quickly before it ends on the 11th August 2013.
Kansai Yamamoto costume from the Aladdin Sane tour of 1973 at the entrance to the V&A Museum David Bowie exhibition
The original lyrics as written by David Bowie for Starman at the V&A museum summer exhibition
Freddie Burretti costume for Starman performance on Top of The Pops 1972, inspired by Clockwork Orange and described by Bowie as ‘Ultra violence in Liberty fabrics’
Handwritten notes on the back of the Hunky Dory album cover show the obsessive control over each part of the process. Bowie’s look here was apparently inspired by Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphie story.
Coffin like display of a replica of the Ziggy Stardust cover jacket 1972 at the V&A Museum
Costume by opera specialist Peter Hall for the Cracked Actor song on the Serious Monlight tour 1983
The V&A Bowie exhibition even has the double head puppets from the new ‘Where are we now?’ video by Tony Oursler
Many of the costumes appear behind a gauze curtain which has videos projected on top at the V&A Museum David Bowie summer exhibition
Huge projections screens in a cavernous space towards the exhibitions end grip the attention, it feels as if you could spend forever in there watching endless re-runs through Bowie’s career.
In later years David Bowie collaborated with Alexander McQueen on many outfits, here a distressed frock coat from 1995 shortly after his graduation from St Martins School of Art.
Designed by Bowie himself for his 50th Birthday concert you’ve got to admire a 50 year old guy with the balls to wear that!
As you exit, back to an early portrait by Masayoshi Sukita from 1972 and Bowie is wearing a pattern mix that could have come from the latest womenswear collections today.
All photos by Smudgetikka – all rights reserved
All materials from the David Bowie Archive, the exhibition is a partnership between the V&A Museum and Gucci.
All posts copyright Smudgetikka – permission must be asked for reproduction 2009 – 2013