David Bowie’s Archive Acquired by London’s V&A Museum

From Major Tom to Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane, many of David Bowie’s faces and inspirations have settled in London.

Britain’s Victoria and Albert Museum announced Thursday that it has acquired Bowie’s archive of more than 80,000 items as a gift from the late musician’s estate. will be published in a new art center dedicated to pop icons.

The David Bowie Center for the Study of Performing Arts is scheduled to open in 2025 as part of the V&A East Storehouse, a branch of the British National Museum of Art, Design and Performance under construction in Olympic Park, east London.



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The V&A said the center will give fans and researchers insight into Bowie’s creative process, who died in 2016 at the age of 69.

Kate Bailey, the museum’s senior curator of theater and performance, said the archive was an “extraordinary” record of the creator, “Life Was Art.”

“Bowie is a polymath and multifaceted. He drew inspiration from all genres and disciplines,” she said. “He’s really an artist working in his 360. Drawing not just from literature, but from art history… (and) places he’s been.”

The musician — born in 1947 outside London as a plain old David Jones — has tirelessly reinvented himself and created a persona, shifting musical styles from folk-rock to glam to soul to electronica. and threw it away.

He has mined influences ranging from German Expressionist cinema to Japanese Kabuki theater to create a series of larger-than-life stage characters. He has inspired musicians, filmmakers, fashion designers and advertisers.

Some of the items in the archive were part of the worldwide touring multimedia exhibition ‘David Bowie Is’ after it sold out at the V&A in London in 2013.

A multicolored quilted jumpsuit designed by Freddie Buretti for Bowie’s alien rock star piece Ziggy Stardust, a futuristic piece by Kansai Yamamoto for the 1973 Aladdin Sane tour, Bowie and Alexander Some items are iconic, such as the Union Jack coat McQueen designed for the cover of the 1997 “Earthling” album.

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

The museum secured the archives from Bowie’s estate, received a £10 million ($12 million) donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Warner Music Group, and stored and displayed them at the V&A East. Venue of the 2012 London Olympics.

The David Bowie Estate said, “With David’s life’s work now part of the UK’s National Collection, he takes his rightful place among many other cultural icons and artistic geniuses. It became so.

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

“From Berlin to Tokyo to London, Bowie’s radical innovations across music, theater, film, fashion and style continue to influence design and visual culture, from Janelle Monae to Lady Gaga and Tilda Swinton. , to Raf Simons, continues to inspire creatives.

This article originally appeared in The Associated Press.

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