David Bowie is presents the first international exhibition of the extraordinary career of David Bowie-one of the most pioneering and influential performers of our time. The exhibition focuses on his creative processes and collaborative work with artists and designers, and demonstrates how his work has both influenced and been influenced by wider movements in art, design, music, and theater. The exhibition’s multimedia design introduces advanced sound technology by Sennheiser and video installations to create an immersive journey through Bowie’s artistic life. David Bowie is was organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago from September 23, 2014 to January 4, 2015.
The MCA is the only US venue for this groundbreaking exhibition. Michael Darling, the MCA James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator says, “This exhibition portrays an artist in control of his practice who recognizes that the smallest details contribute to the overall aesthetic experience of the audience. Bowie’s peerless understanding of the importance of image cultivation and reinvention make him a comfortable fit with others in the MCA Collection and exhibition history, such as Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol-and similar to many artists working today, he has never limited himself to one area of cultural production.
“The MCA’s history has been built on a multidisciplinary understanding of creativity from its founding in 1967, and the combination of exhibitions, performances, and programs we present today reflect that wide-angle view of contemporary art. This exhibition repatriates David Bowie, the musical innovator, into the territory of cutting-edge visual and performing art that is his natural home.”
The exhibition brings together more than 300 objects, including photography, album artwork, handwritten lyrics, original fashions, set designs, and rare performance material from the past five decades from the David Bowie Archive. David Bowie is takes an in-depth look at how David Bowie’s music and radical individualism has inspired others to challenge convention and pursue freedom of expression.
On display are more than 60 stage creations including Ziggy Stardust bodysuits (1972) designed by Freddie Buretti; Kansai Yamamoto’s flamboyant attire 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 view is photography by Brian Duffy, Terry O’Neill, and Masayoshi Sukita; album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert and Edward Bell; cover proofs by Barnbrook for the latest album The Next Day (2013); 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). Alongside these are more personal items such as never-before-seen storyboards, handwritten set lists and lyrics, as well as some of Bowie’s own sketches, musical scores, and writings, revealing the evolution of his creative ideas.
The exhibition was originally organized for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, by curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh. Victoria Broackes is Head of Exhibitions for the Department of Theatre and Performance at the V&A and Geoffrey Marsh is the Director of the Department of Theatre and Performance at the V&A. At the MCA, the exhibition is curated by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator. The V&A is the world's greatest museum of art and design, with collections unrivalled in its scope and diversity. The V&A's outstanding collections represent over 3000 years of creativity from across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The Museum offers internationally acclaimed temporary exhibitions, complementing the Museum's permanent collection, taking a look in depth at a broad range of subjects including design, fashion, photography, architecture, decorative arts, painting, and sculpture.