New London Exhibit Illustrates the Creative Mind and Career of David Bowie

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March 22 2013 11:40 AM

David Bowie Through the Years

A retrospective of the artist’s long and imaginative career.

David Bowie released his first album in the late 1960s, and more than 40 years later, his creative vision has continued to influence music, art, and culture. Bowie’s work is rich in imagination, over-the-top in passion and persona, and constantly pushes the boundaries of rock music, morphing it into something theatrical and mystical. Following on the heels of Bowie’s first new studio album in nearly a decade, The Next Day, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, in partnership with Gucci, will open its “David Bowie Is” exhibit on Saturday.

The exhibit will explore all aspects of Bowie’s long career with many personal and never-before-seen items, such as diaries, set lists, lyrics, and sketches revealing his true creative process. Through photography, film, set designs, and costumes, the V&A aims to take an in-depth look at how Bowie’s artistic originality and individualism shaped and influenced modern movements in art, design, and pop culture. The exhibit will also feature famous album-cover artwork, Ziggy Stardust bodysuits, and performance videos. The release of his newest album and the opening of this retrospective exhibit serve to remind us that Bowie’s unique inventive presence is timeless, and his vision will continue to be a guiding force of reflection and influence within the arts community.

Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973 Design by Brian Duffy and Celia Philo, make up by Pierre La Roche.
Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973. Design by Brian Duffy and Celia Philo. Makeup by Pierre La Roche.

Courtesy of Brian Duffy/Duffy Archive/Victoria & Albert Museum

Striped bodysuit for Aladdin Sane tour, 1973 Design by Kansai Yamamoto.
Striped bodysuit for Aladdin Sane tour, 1973. Design by Kansai Yamamoto.

Courtesy of Masayoshi Sukita/David Bowie Archive/Victoria & Albert Museum

David Bowie with William S. Burroughs, February 1974 with colour by David Bowie.
David Bowie with William S. Burroughs, February 1974. With color by David Bowie.

Courtesy of Terry O'Neill/David Bowie Archive/Victoria & Albert Museum

(L-R): Red platform boots, 1972-73, Aladdin Sane Tour; EMS Synthi AKS synthesizer purchased in 1974 by Brian Eno and used for the recording of “Heroes”, 1977; Pierrot pumps, 1980 designed by Natasha Korniloff for the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ video and Scary Monsters album cover; Original photography for the Earthling album cover, 1997 Union Jack coat designed by Alexander McQueen in collaboration with David Bowie.
From left: Red platform boots, 1972-73, Aladdin Sane tour; EMS Synthi AKS synthesizer purchased in 1974 by Brian Eno and used for the recording of “Heroes”, 1977; Pierrot pumps, 1980, designed by Natasha Korniloff for the "Ashes to Ashes" video and Scary Monsters album cover; Original photography for the Earthling album cover, 1997, with Union Jack coat designed by Alexander McQueen in collaboration with David Bowie.

Red boots, synthesizer, and Pierrot pumps courtesy of the David Bowie Archive/Victoria & Albert Museum. Union Jack coat courtesy of Frank W. Okenfels/Victoria & Albert Museum.

Pierrot (or ‘Blue Clown’) costume, 1980. Designed by Natasha Korniloff for the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ video and Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) album cover.
Pierrot (or "Blue Clown") costume, 1980. Designed by Natasha Korniloff for the "Ashes to Ashes" video and Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) album cover.

Courtesy of the David Bowie Archive/Victoria & Albert Museum

Photographs of David Bowie for Diamond Dogs, 1974.
Photographs of David Bowie for Diamond Dogs, 1974.

Courtesy of Terry O'Neill/Victoria & Albert Museum

Photographs of David Bowie for Diamond Dogs, 1974.
Photographs of David Bowie for Diamond Dogs, 1974.

Courtesy of Terry O'Neill/Victoria & Albert Museum

David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars, 1972.
David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars, 1972.

Courtesy of David Bowie Archive/Victoria & Albert Museum

(L) Publicity photograph for The Kon-rads, 1966, (R) Photo-collage of manipulated film stills from The Man Who Fell to Earth, 1975–6.
Left, publicity photograph for the Kon-rads, 1966. Right, photo-collage of manipulated film stills from The Man Who Fell to Earth, 1975–6.

Left image courtesy of Roy Ainsworth/David Bowie Archive/Victoria & Albert Museum. Right image courtesy of David James/David Bowie Archive/Victoria & Albert Museum.

The Archer Station to Station tour, 1976.
The Archer Station to Station tour, 1976.

Courtesy of John Robert Rowlands/Victoria & Albert Museum

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