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

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    update Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.

    New in Music Alley

    Soul Lounge: Sweet Honey in the Rocki
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    February 10, 2016 1:48 PM
    For over 40 years Sweet Honey In The Rock has entertained audiences around the globe with their signature blend of Blues, African, Gospel and R&B. The Grammy award winning group stopped by The Soul Lounge to perform and share their story as well as how they plan to keep African American musical traditions alive.

    For over 40 years Sweet Honey In The Rock has entertained audiences around the globe with their signature blend of Blues, African, Gospel and R&B.   The Grammy award winning group stopped by The Soul Lounge to perform and share their story as well as how they plan to keep African American musical traditions alive.