MUST-SEE: “DAVID BOWIE IS…” AT THE VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON
Easily the most influential chameleon in rock history, David Bowie‘s storied career has seen him inhabit more personas than an accomplished schizophrenic, and at age 66, release a new album last month that debuted at #1 on iTunes and on UK record charts. The foremost arbiter of rock style and fashion at every generational and cultural pivot point, Bowie’s avant-garde futurism and absolute abhorrence of stasis has seen him generate a massive archive of personal artifacts, that, despite years of massive chemical intake and general debauchery, he had the presence of mind to preserve in an institutional grade archive (complete with its own full-time dedicated archivist) for posterity. It is from this incredible collection that London’s Victoria & Albert Museum assembled its current blockbuster visual retrospective of Bowie’s life & times, titled, appropriately enough, “David Bowie Is…” As in, “who exactly, the hell, is David Bowie?” While even David Jones himself would probably be hard pressed to answer that question, the show does an amazing job of chronicling everyone Bowie has been, from Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane to a late 20th century electronica baron in an Alexander McQueen Union Jack overcoat. Truly fascinating in its depth and sheer visual appeal, the show, open now through August 11, is an incredible survey of the costumes, instruments, artworks, and personal artifacts that signified each progressive character in the musician’s ouevre, and one worth fighting for one of those very scarce tickets that sold out in record time before the show even opened its doors. If you’re anywhere near London in the next 5 months and have even a trace of a pulse, consider this an essential pilgrimage.
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