Exhibition Launch and Review: David Bowie is

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Seen by over 1 million people worldwide at sell-out shows in London, Chicago, Sao Paolo, Paris and Berlin, David Bowie is comes exclusively to ACMI from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

Enthusiasts and the lucky few were invited to the launch and preview last night to celebrate this year’s most eagerly anticipated exhibition.

Design Foundation Director, Kristin McCourtie was amongst fortunate guests to take a peak ahead of the public. If her review is anything to go by, this one exhibition Melbourne will be talking about for years to come!

Exhibition Review: David Bowie is 

Bowie @ACMI is open. It starts with a reference to Gilbert and George and their singing sculpture under the archways.

Life imitating art, Major Tom introduced us to what it was like to space travel 9 days before Apollo II landed on the moon.

The man didn’t want to be a trend setter, he just wanted to be trendy, carrying famous novels in his pocket on the subway to give the right impression, reading them to pass the time and listened to experimental jazz he couldn’t comprehend, doing both long enough that he finally understood them…fake it till you make it!

27 albums and 20 films later he launched a thousand trends that influenced culture irrevocably – fashion, art, music, performance, concepts of gender. 

He recognized creativity as a pathway through the fear of a long line of hereditary mental illness. He worked with software developers in San Francisco in the 70s to create logarithms to mix sentences from current affairs reports, long before generative art was even a term, so he could drag his lyric writing into worlds he wouldn’t otherwise know.

He collaborated with eclectic artists and designers, Yamamoto, McQueen, Brian Eno, Lou Reed because he recognized that the edge, that art and design offers, would bring him attention.

Who remembers that the poppy radio friendly ‘Lets Dance’ had a video that was choreographed as an early Aboriginal land rights protest song.

How do you rise above a dangerous cocaine fuelled LA existence? You straighten up on the streets of Berlin with Iggy Pop and then between the two produce four albums in a year.

David Jones is Ziggy is David Bowie and combined they become a cocktail of star dust, blurring the lines between man and character he embraces Marlene Dietrich and blurs the lines between man and woman.

And all this only touches on the extent of this exhibition. I knew several of the albums but not that there were 24!

You walk through this exhibition with headphones on. Bowie talks to you and then intuitively the technology breaks into song as you confront the next iteration and bump into the person next to you who is dancing and singing aloud (I promise I didn’t do that!).

You thought you loved a few Bowie songs and then realize you were influenced by many!! This is soooo much fun. Did the Moet help? It always does!!

See it! 

“A clergyman once said to us, “Jealousy is a bad thing. But I must confess that I am sometimes jealous of the artist because the artist is closer to creation”. (George of Gibert and George)…Always!!


Thank you ACMI

Kristin McCourtie

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