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"David Bowie is" Coming to the Brooklyn Museum

October 10, 2017 - by Linda Sheridan
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On stage, he was Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, and The Thin White Duke. On celluloid, an alien (The Man Who Fell to Earth), an aging vampire (The Hunger), and Goblin King (Labryinth). David Bowie, the beloved English singer/New York transplant who sang about "Changes" and is revered for perpetually changing his sound and look over a five decades-plus career, is being celebrated in the exhibition David Bowie is, coming to the Brooklyn Museum next year (March 2, 2018).

David Bowie Aladdin Sane Brian Duffy

David Bowie as alt-ego Aladdin Sane, on his album cover, photographed in 1973 by Brian Duffy.

The Brooklyn Museum serves as the final stop on for this exhibit, which debuted in 2013 at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (since its opening, the exhibit has been seen by more than 1.8 million people). The show includes 300+ significant objects from Bowie's teens to his death in 2016, including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photography, set designs, album artwork, and rare performance material. Many of the items will be exclusive to the Brooklyn Museum presentation.

It’s the first-ever retrospective of the visionary's body of work, exploring his creative process of reinvention, collaborations, and how his bold characterizations shaped his listeners’ own identities. Sennheiser, the official audio partner of the exhibition, will  deliver an audio experience through its AMBEO® 3D audio technology.

"With mainstream appeal and yet an avant-garde heart, David Bowie was one of the most original artists of our times. He challenged the status quo and continually took us on new musical explorations with his forward-thinking and groundbreaking presentations. David Bowie continues to be the apex for many artists in wide-ranging disciplines," said Matthew Yokobosky, Director of Exhibition Design, Brooklyn Museum.

David Bowie 1966 publicity the Kon-rads

David Bowie in a publicity photo for his first group The Kon-rads, 1966.

Born David Robert Jones in Brixton, London, Bowie was inspired to become a performer after seeing a Little Richard concert when he was 13. He officially changed his name to David Bowie in 1965 and left London to embark on a career in music and acting. Bowie explored myriad sounds and styles. His persona as androgynous starman Ziggy Stardust took off in 1972, later evolving to Aladdin Sane in 1973; from 1975 to 1976, he went white blond as The Thin White Duke. (An accident from a fight with a childhood friend left him with his distinctly two colored irises.)

David Bowie Station to Station Tour JOhn Robert Rowlands

David Bowie as The Thin White Duke on the Station to Station Tour, 1976. Photo by John Robert Rowlands.

Bowie moved to the U.S. in 1974, recording what he called "plastic soul" on the album Young Americans. The song "Fame" gave him his first #1 hit. During a period of introspection and getting clean, he spent three years in Berlin, where he recorded Heroes at Hansa Studios, about lovers kissing by the Berlin Wall. This year marks its 40th anniversary; the recording recently was commemorated on a BBC radio documentary. Further commercial success for Bowie came in 1983 with his bestselling album Let's Dance, produced by Nile Rodgers. He married Somalian supermodel Iman in 1992 and had a daughter Alexandria Zahra (his firstborn is filmmaker Duncan Jones, born to Bowie's first wife Angela). The family eventually settled in New York's SoHo. He was often seen as a regular at The Strand and McNally Jackson bookstores. Bowie quietly crafted his coda, Blackstar, released on Jan. 8, 2016, his birthday. He died just two days later, at 69, after a battle with cancer. Posthumously, he won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.

David Bowie is was curated by Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh from the Department of Theatre and Performance at the V&A. Lightning Bolt tickets ($35) for priority access to are on sale now. Timed tickets for the general public go on sale Nov. 15, at a cost of $20. Exclusive packages start at $85. David Bowie is will run at the Brooklyn Museum through July 15, 2018. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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