David Bowie’s huge assortment of non-public objects — together with flamboyant Ziggy Stardust costumes, handwritten lyrics and the Stylophone utilized in “House Oddity” — has been donated to the UK’s Victoria and Albert Museum by the late rock artist’s property.
The V&A will showcase greater than 80,000 items, most of which have by no means been within the public area, at its new hub in east London from 2025. It declined to provide the worth of the archive.
The pioneering musician, whose concepts additionally influenced movie, artwork and trend, was an inveterate collector of fabric referring to his inventive course of and output over six many years. He died from most cancers in 2016.
Bowie’s archive contains letters, set designs, hundreds of slides, contact sheets and transparencies from photographers comparable to Terry O’Neill and Helmut Newton, in addition to costumes made by trend designers Alexander McQueen and Kansai Yamamoto.
There are additionally “intimate notebooks” full of Bowie’s concepts, tasks and musings, which the V&A stated would forged new gentle on his inventive thought course of, in addition to “minimize up” lyrics, an experimental technique of songwriting launched to Bowie by the author William Burroughs.
Guitars, amps and different tools embody Brian Eno’s synthesiser from Bowie’s 1977 album Low.
Kate Bailey, V&A senior curator for theatres and performances, stated it was “unprecedented” for a world artist to protect an archive on such a scale.
“He was retaining and documenting his inventive course of, whether or not that was an album cowl, a track lyric, a stage set or a glance . . . The truth that he had the imaginative and prescient to doc and archive it’s unbelievable,” she stated, including that Bowie was a lens via which to discover many cultural genres.
The trove of pop and rock historical past will likely be held and displayed in a newly created David Bowie Centre for the Examine of Performing Arts at V&A East Storehouse in Stratford, east London, with objects often converted.
Resulting from open in 2025, the centre will likely be funded with £10mn donated by file label Warner Music Group, which owns Bowie’s songbook, and the Blavatnik Household Basis.
Bowie had a longstanding relationship with the V&A, permitting it entry to his results to stage a brief 2013 exhibition, David Bowie is, which grew to become one of many museum’s hottest reveals, drawing 2mn folks throughout 12 worldwide venues.
Bailey stated the present had damaged new floor with its multimedia show. Guests heard totally different tracks by Bowie — delivered via German accomplice Sennheiser’s headphones — as they walked between rooms.
Bailey stated the V&A had but to develop an identical strategy to displaying the archive, however added: “Within the spirit of Bowie, we’ll must do one thing that can comply with his creativity and imaginative and prescient.”
She stated detailed plans on learn how to show the gathering had been at an early stage however that the centre aimed to digitise objects and written paperwork as a part of its conservation work and to extend entry to the archive.
“His music is lasting. However if you begin to see the sense of the visible journeys he went on and his private analysis, that’s when it takes on this different sort of richness,” she stated.