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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”