David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit to go on display
Tuesday 04 September 2012
David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit and his hand-written lyrics are set to be the highlights of a V&A show dedicated to the singer “who helped change the world”.
More than 300 objects have been selected for what is being billed as the first museum Bowie retrospective.
The show, David Bowie Is, opens next spring and will feature Bowie's own instruments, sketches, musical scores, diary entries and album artwork.
Hand-written lyrics and set lists, 60 stage costumes, photography, film, music videos, set designs and storyboards which have not been shown before will go on display at the V&A, which plans to hold an academic symposium on the singer.
Bowie has given the V&A (Victoria And Albert Museum), access to his archive of 60,000 objects in New York - a first for a museum.
The show has been curated by the V&A and Bowie, 65, recently took to Facebook to deny that he was directly involved in the exhibition.
"Contrary to recently published reports relating to the announcement by the V&A of an upcoming David Bowie exhibition, I am not a co-curator and did not participate in any decisions relating to the exhibition," he said.
"The David Bowie Archive gave unprecedented access to the V&A and museum's curators have made all curatorial and design choices."
Organisers said the show would trace the star's "reinvention across five decades", the way he inspired others to "pursue freedom of expression" and his influence on movements in art and culture.
Curators said Bowie's influence was not just cultural but political and that he was a worthy subject of a university doctorate.
Co-curator Geoffrey Marsh said: "We're aiming for a ground-breaking exhibition to reflect a ground-breaking artist".
He added that it had an "almost impossible task" of appealing to the "dedicated fan who already knows everything" and its general audience.
He said: "Bowie has played a crucial role in the shaping of modern society because of his focus on personal self-expression.
"He might not have intended to do this ... but help change the world he did and the ripples of those changes continue to move outwards around the globe today."
Costumes include the Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit (1972), designed in collaboration with Bowie and inspired by Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange.
Bowie appeared on Top Of The Pops with flame-orange hair, make-up, multi-coloured clothing and red patent boots to perform Starman, the first single from the album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust, on July 6, 1972 in a "watershed moment" for rock music and youth culture.
The show, which organisers plan to tour the UK and overseas, will also feature the Union flag coat designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen for the Earthling album cover (1997).
Bowie, who now lives in the US, was born David Robert Jones in 1947 in Brixton, south London, and adopted his stage name in 1965.
His most famous creation, Ziggy Stardust, a human manifestation of an alien being, was created in 1972.
Visitors will also be able to see the set model for the Diamond Dogs tour and the contact sheet from the Aladdin Sane (1973) album cover shoot, which featured Bowie with a "lightning flash" design on his face and which has been referenced by celebrities from Lady Gaga to Kate Moss.
The show will feature excerpts from the film The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) and music videos Boys Keep Swinging (1979) and chart-topper Let's Dance (1983) as well as recently uncovered footage of Bowie performing Jean Genie on Top Of The Pops in 1973.
Curators cited the Aladdin Sane (1973) cover shoot as "one of the most emblematic and influential images of the last half century".
It was recently seen in a piece of street art, suspected to be by Banksy, of the Queen with a lightning flash across her face.
The V&A, which previously exhibited Kylie Minogue's costumes, defended having a "major show" on Bowie, saying that the singer was one of the "world's most creative artists".
Co-curator Victoria Broackes said: "He is ideal for a V&A exhibition ... he is continuously cited as an influence on other artists, designers and performers ... he has said himself he likes to take high art and take it to street level."
She said of the show: "It will be a serious exhibition about design. I don't feel there's an argument (against this) unless you feel that a museum should be just about things from the past.
"This museum has never been like that. Henry Cole (the V&A's first director) set it up with objects that at the time were contemporary."
She said she would like to see Bowie at the opening, but added: "He's fairly reclusive and he doesn't fly."
The firm that designed the video content including the house for the London 2012 opening ceremony - 59 Productions - is creating an image of Bowie which will be projected on to a wall in the show which, when it opens, will have been almost three years in the planning.
The exhibition will feature unseen film and photographs of the Diamond Dogs tour and personal footage of Bowie, whose music was featured at the Olympic Games opening ceremony, showing his work to John Lennon.
David Bowie Is, sponsored by Gucci and Sennheiser, runs from March 23 to July 28, 2013.
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