I had a great weekend just gone, I was in London with tickets for the David Bowie is exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Knightsbride, London.
The exhibition has been widely praised for its content, breadth of content and just the sheer quality of the whole experience. I’m a Bowie fan so perhaps a little bias but honestly… it was brilliant.
A lot of whats on display is just the real thing that we’ve all seen in video’s and TV shows. But, there are some very private things from David himself. Things like pictures and paintings he’s made, story boards he’s drawn and original song lyrics. Great (for the fan that is). Add to this the stage costumes and the song videos and the whole experience was just fabulous.
To get an understanding of how David Bowie has become among the most influential pop stars of his, (our) generation, there are insights from musician Thurston Moore, artist Jeremy Deller, music journalist Simon Price, dedicated Bowie fan Ziggy Jacobs and artist Daphne Guinness. Between them they trace Bowie’s career from the 1960s, and take a close look at his approaches to the creation of music, image and performance.
The exhibition focuses on the two main era’s of his career; the Ziggy/Diamond Dogs era (1972 – 1974) and the Berlin years with the trilogy; Station to Station, Heroes & Low being released in the late 1970’s. Although only part of Heroes was recorded in Berlin and the others not at all the feel is distinctly of the City. Most other era’s are skirted across with not much to add to the common knowledge.
My favorite era is without any question the Berlin years, my favorite album being Low. My favorite Bowie song of all time coming at the end of this period; Boys Keep Swinging – the video of which is shown on a loop, full length during the exhibition. Its during this time that I think he was at his most original, but it is fair to say that he has been (probably still is) a magpie in his approach.
As a retrospective it beats the release of a compilation album any day. As a lasting testament, the experience will live on till long after the music has ceased to play.
David Bowie, pop star, mime artist, actor, painter, person of our times.