Yesterday, Soror Amy, a friend and I attended the “David Bowie Is” exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibit opened March 2 runs till Sunday July 15. Tons has been written about this show which will be of more or less interest to you depending on your extant interest in this artist. Tons has also been written about the occult references and symbology that crop up in his work — comparatively a small amount consider the extent of his canon. And yet, among the explanatory signage posted two were somewhat pertinent:
One regarded the release of David Bowie’s first album, which came out the first day as the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper which clearly overshadowed it. The posted note mentions the cover collage of SP, and lists about three of those immortalized thereby and these include Aleister Crowley. This of course is hardly news, but says something about the curator’s perspective in that dozens of better known celebrities could have been mentioned in his stead.
The second regarded the photo shoot done for the Hunky Dory album in which he appears in “pharonic” garb and the note states that this was inspired by Aleister Crowley. And while tin foil hat sites have said this for years… it’s not especially an obvious connection based on visual comparison. So… again, it says something about the curator’s choices and perception that all the possible lines of influence he could have cited, he chose Crowley. Which well could have been influenced from other inferences he found among Bowie’s writings and collected artifacts while curating the exhibit. There’s no definite conclusion I can come to in this — it’s just curious and thought provoking.
ANYWAY – here’s a virtual tour of this exhibit in case you still might wanna catch it:
And here’s the BM’s posting on it:
“All advance tickets for David Bowie is are now sold out. We have a limited number of standard and Member tickets available on-site for same-day entry (first-come, first-served). Tickets sell out quickly each day. Please be prepared to share the exhibition with a large number of Bowie fans and for longer than normal wait times. Membership does not guarantee entry to the exhibition.
“Strollers, photography, and filming are not allowed in the exhibition.
“Organized with unprecedented access to David Bowie’s personal archive, this exhibition explores the creative process of an artist whose sustained reinventions, innovative collaborations, and bold characterizations revolutionized the way we see music, inspiring people to shape their own identities while challenging social traditions. David Bowie is has been touring globally for the past five years and is taking its final bow at the Brooklyn Museum, providing an opportunity to view this one-of-a-kind material.
“David Bowie is presents approximately 400 objects drawn primarily from the David Bowie Archive, including the artist’s original costumes, handwritten lyric sheets from famous songs, original album art, photographs, and videos, all tracing Bowie’s creative process from his teenage years in England through his last twenty years, when he resided in New York City. The archive is presented within an immersive, multimedia installation that includes continuous audio along with projected animation and video.
“Highlights of the exhibition include more than 60 custom-made performance costumes, including six designed by Freddie Burretti for Ziggy Stardust / 1980 Floor Show and seven designed by Kansai Yamamoto for Aladdin Sane. There are 85 handwritten lyric sheets, including those from “Fame” and “Fashion”; drawings, including a sketch for the Young Americans album cover; and oil paintings, including two of musician Iggy Pop, all by Bowie. There are also more than 40 pioneering music videos, television clips, and filmed roles as well as a multimedia presentation of international tour footage with rare scenes from the legendary Diamond Dogs tour, filmed in Philadelphia. A custom audio mix made up of snippets of Bowie’s songs—produced by longtime collaborator Tony Visconti—is also featured.
“David Bowie is is organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.”