March 31, 2023

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The Victoria and Albert Museum will open the archives of David Bowie

Over his 55 years in the business, David Bowie has redefined the essence of Cool by embracing an exotic niche. Now, Ziggy Stardust and all the other musical characters will have a permanent home.

The museum announced Thursday that the Victoria and Albert Museum in London will house more than 80,000 items from Bowie’s career in the new David Bowie Center for the Study of the Performing Arts. Center, which will be in a new location for the museum called V&A East Storehouse In the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the Stratford section of London, it will open in 2025.

Bowie’s estate said in a statement: “With David’s life’s work being part of the UK’s national collections, it takes its rightful place among many other cultural icons and artistic geniuses.” “David’s work can be shared with the public in ways that weren’t possible before, and we are very pleased to be working closely with Victoria and Albert to continue to memorialize David’s lasting cultural impact.”

Bowie died in 2016, two days after his 69th birthday.

The museum said in a statement that the acquisition and establishment of the center was made possible thanks to a joint donation of 10 million pounds (about $12 million) from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the Warner Music Group, adding that the donation will support “continued preservation, research and study of the archives.” Bowie’s entire song catalog was purchased by Warner Music last year.

In addition to 70,000 photographs of Bowie taken by the likes of Terry O’Neill, Brian Duffy, and Helmut Newton, the collection includes letters, sheet music, original costumes, costumes, other photography, film, music videos, still designs, instruments, album art, awards, and, of course, fashion.

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Many of these will be familiar to fans: the Bowie kits worn by Ziggy Stardust as his replacement. Kansai Yamamoto’s costumes for the 1973 “Aladdin Sane” tour; The Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and British designer Alexander McQueen for the cover of their 1997 album “Earthling.”

Handwritten lyrics to songs like “Fame,” “Heroes,” and “Ashes to Ashes,” including examples of Bowie’s chopping technique, will also be on display. The artist looked at William S. Burroughs, a postmodern author, as inspiration for truncating written text and rearranging it into words.

Lyrics cut for “Blackout” from the movie “Heroes”, recorded by David Bowie in…David Bowie Archive

In 1997, Bowie told The Times he worked this way “about 40 percent of the time,” which, in that year, meant using a Macintosh computer.

“I feed her fodder,” he said, “and she scatters reams of paper with these arbitrary combinations of words and phrases.”

Also on display will be Bowie’s personal writings, “intimate notebooks from every year of Bowie’s life and career,” and “unrealized projects,” many of which have never been made available to the public, the museum said.

The permanent collection comes 10 years after the museum created “David Bowie Is,” a broad survey tracing the beginnings of David Jones, a blues and saxophonist who grew up in London and became David Bowie, a prominent figure in music, art and fashion. The traveling exhibition stopped in 2018 in New York, the city Bowie called home at the end of his life.

“I think everyone will agree with me when I say that when I look back on the last 60 years of post-Beatles music, if only one artist can take part in Victoria and Albert, it has to be David Bowie,” longtime collaborator Nile Rodgers said. in a statement. “He didn’t just make art. It was art!”

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