‘Iconic’ is a term applied far too frequently to artists who have simply been around for a long time. Age and illustriousness are not synonymous. But it’s entirely fitting as a description of David Bowie, whose impact still pulses through popular culture more than 40 years after the release of his breakthrough single, the eccentric ‘Space Oddity’. To celebrate and honour Bowie’s pioneering creativity, the V&A is staging an exhibition opening in March 2013 that explores his creative process and reflects the changes he’s effected across a five-decade career.
Although Bowie himself had no hand in the curatorship of the exhibition – and has posted a wryly humorous message on Facebook to that effect – he has granted the museum access to his vast personal archive, which includes dozens of original costumes (including Freddie Burretti’s Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit and the Pierrot outfit worn in the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ video), handwritten lyrics, photos, album art work, musical instruments, videos/film footage, sketches and Bowie’s own set designs.
It’s a wide-ranging and conceptually ambitious exhibition, its title intended to underline the fact that Bowie’s extraordinary influence on popular culture is ongoing. It promises a chance to both reassess his creativity and see it in context. And to marvel at just how petite he must have been to fit into those tiny costumes. Sharon O’Connell
With all the Bowie fans out there, this looks to be a popular show. Tickets have just gone on sale: book now.