David Bowie’s ‘extraordinary’ archive has a home

From Major Tom to Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, many of David Bowie’s faces and inspirations are having a permanent home in London.

Britain’s Victoria & Albert Museum announced on Thursday that it has purchased Bowie’s archive of more than 80,000 artifacts as a gift from the late musician’s legacy. An inventory of costumes, instruments, letters, lyrics, images, and more will be released to the public at a new art center dedicated to the chameleon-like pop icon.

The David Bowie Center for Performing Arts Studies is scheduled to open in 2025 as part of the V&A East Storehouse, a branch of the UK’s national museum of art, design and performance under construction. in the Olympic Park in east London.

The V&A says the center will allow fans and researchers to better understand the creative process of Bowie, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 69.

Kate Bailey, the museum’s senior curator of stage and performance, said the archive was an “extraordinary” record of a creator whose “life is art”.

“Bowie is a multi-talented man, he is multifaceted. He was inspired by all genres and fields,” she said. “He’s an artist who works in real 360 degrees — drawing from literature, but also drawing from art history… (and) the places he’s been.”

The musician – David Jones, born in suburban London in 1947 – has constantly reinvented himself, creating and shedding personalities as he moves through musical styles from folk-rock to glamor to soul then electronics.

He created a series of larger-than-life theatrical figures, tapping into influences from German Expressionist cinema to Japan’s Kabuki theater. In turn, he influenced musicians, filmmakers, fashion designers, and advertisers.

Some of the items in the archives are part of “David Bowie Is,” a multimedia exhibition that toured the world after selling out at the V&A in London in 2013.

Some of the items are iconic, such as the multicolored quilted jumpsuits designed by Freddie Burretti for Bowie’s alien rock star creation Ziggy Stardust, and Kansai Yamamoto’s futuristic creation for Aladdin Sane’s 1973 tour or a Union Jack jacket designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen for the cover of the 1997 Album “Earthling” magazine.

Others are more personal, including letters, handwritten lyrics to songs including the national anthem “Heroes,” and notebooks that Bowie kept throughout his life. . The archive also contains more than 70,000 photos, slides, and images.

The museum has secured archives from the Bowie estate and also received a donation of £10 million ($12 million) from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Warner Music Corporation store it and display it at V&A East, part of a new cultural and technological precinct that will spring up on the London 2012 venue Olympic.

David Bowie Estate says that “with David’s life-long work becoming part of the UK’s national collection, he has his rightful place among many other cultural icons and artistic geniuses. “

V&A director Tristram Hunt called Bowie “one of the greatest musicians and performers of all time.”

“Bowie’s radical innovations in music, theatre, film, fashion and style — from Berlin to Tokyo to London — continue to influence visual design and culture, while also inspiring creativity. from Janelle Monáe to Lady Gaga to Tilda Swinton and Raf Simons,” he said.

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