UK Museum acquires Bowie’s archive and will put it on display


From Major Tom to Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane, David Bowie’s many faces and inspirations are making a permanent home in London.

Britain’s Victoria & Albert Museum announced Thursday it had acquired Bowie’s archive of more than 80,000 items as a gift from the late musician’s estate. The trove of costumes, musical instruments, letters, lyrics, photos and more will be open to the public in a new arts center dedicated to the chameleon-like pop icon.

The David Bowie Center for the Study of the Performing Arts is set to open in 2025 as part of the V&A East Storehouse, a branch of the UK’s national museum of art, design and performance which is being built in East London’s Olympic Park.

The V&A said the center will allow fans and researchers to gain insight into the creative process of Bowie, who died in 2016 at the age of 69.

Kate Bailey, the museum’s senior curator of theater and performance, called the archive an “extraordinary” record of a creator whose “life was art.”

“Bowie is a polymath, he is multifaceted. He drew inspiration from all genres and disciplines,” he said. “He’s an artist who really worked in 360, drawing from literature, but also from art history… (and) the places he’d been.”

The musician, born simply David Jones in suburban London in 1947, relentlessly reinvented himself, creating and shedding personas as he moved through musical styles from folk-rock to glam, soul and The electronic.

He created a number of larger-than-life stage characters, with mining influences ranging from German expressionist cinema to Japanese Kabuki theater. He in turn has influenced musicians, filmmakers, fashion designers, and publicists.

Some of the items in the archive were part of “David Bowie Is”, a multimedia exhibition that toured the world after it sold out at the V&A in London in 2013.

Some items are iconic, such as a multicolored padded jumpsuit designed by Freddie Burretti for Bowie’s creation of alien rock star Ziggy Stardust, Kansai Yamamoto’s futuristic creations for the Aladdin Sane tour in 1973, or the Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen for the 1997 “Earthling” album cover.

Others are more personal, like letters, handwritten lyrics to songs like the anthem “Heroes,” and notebooks Bowie kept throughout his life. The archives also contain more than 70,000 photos, slides, and images.

The museum secured the Bowie estate archive and also received a £10 million ($12 million) donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Warner Music Group to house and display it at V&A East, part of a new culture and technology quarter which stands at the venue of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The David Bowie Estate said that “with David’s life’s work forming part of the UK’s national collections, he takes his rightful place among many other cultural icons and artistic geniuses.”

V&A director Tristram Hunt called Bowie “one of the greatest musicians and performers of all time”.

“Bowie’s radical innovations in music, theater, film, fashion and style, from Berlin to Tokyo to London, continue to influence design and visual culture and inspire creatives from Janelle Monae to Lady Gaga, Tilda Swinton and Raf Simons,” he said. saying.

Leave a Comment