News / Arts & Entertainment

David Bowie Exhibit Breaks Box Office Records

A neon flash representing David Bowie's
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 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
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 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
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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings: Nnekai
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
August 26, 2015 2:42 PM
Nigerian singer, songwriter Nneka sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from her latest CD, "My Fairy Tales" and to talk about her inspirations and influences.

Nigerian singer, songwriter Nneka sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from her latest CD, "My Fairy Tales" and to talk about her inspirations and influences.