Exhibitions Worth the Trip: David Bowie is

Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane
Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane. Image: © Duffy Archive.

2013 just may be the year of David Bowie. Not only does he have a new album coming out, but he also has a retrospective this year at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. If you're a fan, you may want to book a trip to London this spring or summer to immerse yourself in all things Bowie. But don't hesitate, the exhibition David Bowie is, featuring over 300 objects from the David Bowie Archive, is only open until July 28, 2013.

The Archer Station to Station tour
The Archer Station to Station tour. Image: © John Robert Rowlands.
the exhibit

The curators at the Victoria Albert Museum, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh take us on a tour inside of Bowie's creative process from song conception to concert tour and every step in between. The exhibit begins with Bowie's backstory and his early influences, including records from artists such as Little Richard. It then steps into his creative processes, inspiration, and techniques by examining instruments, footage and handwritten lyrics. It also wouldn't be a Bowie show without attention paid to his stage personas; here they observe alter-egos Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke (pictured above) as a cultural critique. The conception of a performance is also examined through an extensive look at the creation of the 1974 Diamond Dogs tour. Lastly, the exhibit looks at our perception of Bowie through his portraits and his impact on the music world. Rather than viewing Bowie merely as a musical phenomenon, it seems like the V&A has taken great strides to examine Bowie as an artist and creator. Alongside the exhibition, they've also produced an accompanying exhibition catalog. (Available on Amazon for $31.77)

David Bowie and William Burroughs
David Bowie and William Burroughs. Image: Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive 2012. Image © V&A Images.
the museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum holds the largest collection of decorative arts in the world. The sheer size of their collection may be their strength, but the breadth of their collection is far and wide, from costumes to photography, decorative art to paintings. I could go on, but I'll let the museum show you its collection in this video, 20 Great Reasons to Visit the V&A.

more music ideas for London

And while you're there (and if music is your thing,) both the Royal Academy of Music Museum and Royal College of Music Museum may be worth a visit for their instrument collections and temporary exhibitions. Catching a live show wouldn't be a bad idea either. Larger venues such as O2 Academy Brixton and The O2 bring big name acts, and KOKO or The Forum might be a good pick for a more intimate music experience. And all this Bowie talk makes me want to go record shopping, so a visit to one of London's record shops would be a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Check out Londonist's list of record shops for a few ideas.

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