To call David Bowie a pop star seems a little too small. Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj are pop stars. So are Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake. But David Bowie is a rock star. He’s an artist…a performance artist. He’s an iconic legend. And he (unlike Nicki, Britney or the Justin’s) has a exhibit at London’s legendary Victoria and Albert Museum titled “David Bowie Is,” celebrating his nearly 50 year career in the music business.
Bowie relentlessly reinvented his music and his persona throughout his career, creating longevity and proving he as far more than a pop star. Bowie has been a master at embracing, anticipating and creating social and cultural currents. He’s shown intellectual depth to his art as well as eclectism as he helped define the Glam Rock movement of the early 1970’s through his on-stage performance and sexually ambiguous alter ego “Ziggy Stardust”—long before Beyonce’s “Sascha Fierce” and Garth Brook’s “Chris Gaines.” In the 80’s his “Fame” and “under Pressure” were anthems to a generation. Throughout his career, he has sold an estimated 140 million albums. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 39th on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."
The museum exhibition coincides with the release of a new Bowie album--“The Next Day.” According to The New York Times, the release of the new album came as a surprise to almost everyone, including the Victoria and Albert — “although no one believes us,” lamented Geoffrey Marsh, a co-curator of the exhibition. It is, perhaps, his next reinvention.
The curators of the exhibition rooted through Bowie’s personal, 75,000-piece collection which he had already been carefully archived—clearly aware of the impact his art makes upon the world.
The exhibition is organized by theme rather than chronology reports The New York Times. The first section is devoted to Bowie’s early years, displaying photographs, albums and documents. But the rest of the exhibition is arranged around costumes, songwriting, collaborators and performance. You can listen to Bowie’s music as you wander the exhibit, thanks to headphones offered by the museum.
From “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars”; to “The Next Day;” David Bowie Is…