News / Arts & Entertainment

David Bowie Exhibit Breaks Box Office Records

A neon flash representing David Bowie's "Aladdin Sane" stage character is seen at the entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum to mark the "David Bowie is" exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
A neon flash representing David Bowie's "Aladdin Sane" stage character is seen at the entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum to mark the "David Bowie is" exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
Reuters
Ziggy played guitar. But as a new exhibition devoted to singer David Bowie's long and innovative career makes clear, he also wrote lyrics, checked every detail of his outlandish costumes, appeared in movies and helped design his own stage sets.

"David Bowie is," which runs from March 23 to Aug. 11, has broken box office records at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, with 50,000 advance tickets sold.

Organizers at a press preview on Wednesday were at pains to point out that more tickets were available and the demand underlines 66-year-old Bowie's lasting impact on music, fashion, video and beyond.

It also coincides with the release just over a week ago of Bowie's new album "The Next Day," his first new material for a decade. The record hit number one in the British album charts at the weekend, marking his return to the top after 20 years.

"His radical innovations across music, theatre, fashion and style still resound today in design and visual culture and he continues to inspire artists and designers throughout the world," said Martin Roth, director of the V&A.

A striped asymmetric catsuit by Yansai Yamamoto (1973), used by performer David Bowie, is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.A striped asymmetric catsuit by Yansai Yamamoto (1973), used by performer David Bowie, is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
x
A striped asymmetric catsuit by Yansai Yamamoto (1973), used by performer David Bowie, is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
A striped asymmetric catsuit by Yansai Yamamoto (1973), used by performer David Bowie, is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
Drawing heavily on the David Bowie Archive, the show features more than 300 objects, with pride of place going to Bowie's stage costumes which allowed him to adopt alternative personas and create an aura of mystery and invention.

Among the recognizable outfits are a striped bodysuit by Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto for the Aladdin Sane tour in 1973 and the Pierrot costume by Natasha Korniloff which featured in the groundbreaking music video for "Ashes to Ashes."

"Seismic Shift"

Among the costumes on display from Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" phase is the blue, gold and red padded jumpsuit by Freddie Burretti that marked a turning point in Bowie's career.

The Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit designed by Freddie Burretti (1972) is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.The Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit designed by Freddie Burretti (1972) is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
x
The Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit designed by Freddie Burretti (1972) is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
The Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit designed by Freddie Burretti (1972) is seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition in London, March 20, 2013.
He wore the suit for a performance of "Starman" on Britain's TV chart show "Top of the Pops" on July 6, 1972 complete with flame-orange hair, make-up and red patent boots, representing what organizers called a "seismic shift" in pop culture.

People were intrigued and appalled in equal measure at the sight of the otherwordly androgynous being, a bold new creation which has inspired performers ever since.

True to Bowie's multimedia experimentation, the show includes footage from famous concerts shown on giant screens as well as a mime show enacted by Bowie in 1969 which anticipates the downside of becoming famous.

His attention to detail can be seen throughout.

On a design sketch for an outfit to be worn on the U.S. "Saturday Night Live" show Bowie wrote: "may be I'm wrong about color? What do you think."

He also appeared not to take himself too seriously, describing a short bodysuit, designed by Yamamoto, as his "impossibly silly 'bunny' costume."

He soaked up culture and history wherever he went, including his stay in Berlin in the late 1970s where he absorbed Brecht, cabaret and Expressionist art and produced three acclaimed albums - "Low," "Heroes" and "Lodger."

He recorded a Mandarin version of his 1997 song "Seven Years in Tibet," reflecting his interest in the region and its Buddhist religion.

The track prompted one Chinese fan to write, in a note on display at the exhibition: "I think I am flying in the sky when I listen to your Mandarin song, you know!"

The displays are accompanied by an impressive soundtrack that includes hits like "Space Oddity," "Changes" and "Under Pressure," which he released with Queen in 1981.

FILE - David Bowie arrives with his wife Iman to attend the CFDA fashion awards in New York, June 7, 2010.FILE - David Bowie arrives with his wife Iman to attend the CFDA fashion awards in New York, June 7, 2010.
x
FILE - David Bowie arrives with his wife Iman to attend the CFDA fashion awards in New York, June 7, 2010.
FILE - David Bowie arrives with his wife Iman to attend the CFDA fashion awards in New York, June 7, 2010.
In fact, all that is missing from "David Bowie is" is the man himself. If he were to visit, it would most likely be incognito, as Bowie has shunned the limelight altogether for much of the last decade.

"We're really hoping David does appear at some point," said co-curator Geoffrey Marsh.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."