News / Arts & Entertainment

    David Bowie Exhibit Visits North, South America

    A variety of stage costumes worn by musician David Bowie are seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, March 20, 2013.
    A variety of stage costumes worn by musician David Bowie are seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, March 20, 2013.
    Richard Paul
    There’s a new exhibit making its way through North and South America that tracks the work of David Bowie.  It’s a collection of 300 items out of Bowie’s 70,000-piece archive and it tries to nail down an essential question about this constantly changing artist.

    Richard Paul's Feature on the David Bowie Exhibit
    Richard Paul's Feature on the David Bowie Exhibiti
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    The exhibit is called “David Bowie Is…” And there’s a reason for that.  Over the course of the iconoclastic performer’s 46-year career, defining just who David Bowie is has been an endless game in the media and popular culture.  Singer, dancer, actor, provocateur, gender-bender - the exhibit tries to capture all of it.  Co-Curator Geoffrey Marsh said it has plenty for fans of Bowie and even for those who aren’t exactly fans, but who are intrigued by how he shaped his times.  There are the costumes he used to adopt different personas.

    A variety of stage costumes worn by musician David Bowie are seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, March 20, 2013.
    A variety of stage costumes worn by musician David Bowie are seen at the "David Bowie is" Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, March 20, 2013.
    “There are original Ziggy Stardust costumes, there is the Pierrot costume from ‘Ashes to Ashes’", explained Marsh. " There's the white duke costumes, the Union Jack frock coat design that David worked up with Alexander McQueen in 96-97 which is on the front cover of ‘Earthling’.”

    “I suppose the next category of material which are particularly interesting is the original lyrics of - he's written hundreds of songs and in the exhibition there's lyrics for about 17 of them," he added. " ‘Five Years,’ ‘Life on Mars,’ - lots and lots of the classics.”

    On top of all that, the exhibit contains Bowie's drawings, sketches, summary sheets with his ideas for his records, his costume designs and other materials that shows the amount of work that went into creating not only the various identities he took on over the years. As Marsh pointed out, “David Bowie” has always been an invention.  

    Pop star David Bowie and his super model wife Iman pose for photographs during a visit to Cape Town, February 25.Pop star David Bowie and his super model wife Iman pose for photographs during a visit to Cape Town, February 25.
    x
    Pop star David Bowie and his super model wife Iman pose for photographs during a visit to Cape Town, February 25.
    Pop star David Bowie and his super model wife Iman pose for photographs during a visit to Cape Town, February 25.
    “Lots and lots of people say ‘I've met David Bowie/I've interviewed David Bowie.’  The source of David Bowie doesn’t exist.  The person who was born on the 8th of January 1947 is someone called David Robert Jones.  David Bowie is a sort of construction,” Marsh noted.

    That construction has inspired supporters, antagonized critics, and long baffled the media. Who was this strangely costumed person in elaborate makeup?  And how to describe his music - was it rock 'n' roll or disco or something else entirely?  All this confusion, Marsh said, was in service to Bowie’s overall philosophy.

    “I think his key message to people is ‘Don't follow me.  Look at what you want to be and go and do it, because that's the one thing you can go uniquely in life,’ ” Marsh said.

     Exhibit visitors are given headphones fitted with a GPS system that tracks them through the museum.  

    “So there is a soundtrack to the exhibition," explained Marsh. "You're in this sonic landscape as you walk through the exhibition so for example when you get to the case that's talking about ‘Space Oddity,’ ‘Space Oddity’ comes on and plays and you don't need to do anything and then when you walk away, it fades out.

    “What we really wanted to do was to try and show how an artist works," he continued, "where they get their ideas from, how they realize those imaginatively and then practically how do they make them.”

    “David Bowie Is…” remains in Toronto until November 27.  Then it travels to Chicago and elsewhere in the United States, to Sao Paulo, Brazil and then back to Europe.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Border Crossings: A Great Big Worldi
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    April 27, 2016 12:30 PM
    Duo Ian Axel and Chad King who are better known as "A Great Big World" released their sophomore CD in 2015, "When the Morning Comes" and they join Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from the new CD and also their biggest hit, "Say Something."

    Duo Ian Axel and Chad King who are better known as "A Great Big World" released their sophomore CD in 2015, "When the Morning Comes" and they join Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from the new CD and also their biggest hit, "Say Something."