Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973. Photograph by Brian Duffy

DAVID BOWIE IS documents a 50 year contribution to culture in an immersive experience that takes viewers deep inside the breadth of influence on fashion, film, sound, style, photography, theatre, and of course, music.

Following a sellout run at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, DAVID BOWIE IS opens at ACMI Melbourne mid 2015 – and if our London experience is any indication of the popularity of the exhibition – pre-registerion for tickets is highly recommended (link below)!


Visitors don GPS-synced headsets, the audio extending the viewer experience through out the exhibition, as visitors move silently though out the spaces.

Opening with Bowie’s voiceover where he recounts modest family beginnings, the adjacent old-school record rack housing every vinyl album he’s pressed to date (the sheer volume of records testament to an expansive repertoire matched by few) – expectation is set to no 11 on the 1-10 scale of ‘amazing experience’.

From musical producers through fashion designers – Bowie undeniably embodies the true definition of icon. Scanning visitors at the V&A incarnation, reveals the breadth of his cultural influence – with no defined demographic.

Alexander McQueen’s famous UNION JACK COAT, designed in collaboration with Bowie for the cover of the 1997 album Earthling and photographed by Frank W Ockenfels 3 – is standout – the installation complete with a (tear inducing) handwritten note from Lee to Bowie.

Lyric sheets, unseen photographs and videos, live show footage, 50+ costumes and interviews with creative collaborators are showcased with never seen before hand-drawn set lists and stage set sketches.

Concert footage joins The Man Who Fell To Earth and other Bowie films, making this a show one to remember, in detail, future forward!


“The exhibition looks in-depth at how Bowie’s music and radical individualism has both influenced and been influenced by wider movements in art, design, film and contemporary popular culture over an incredible 50-year career and demonstrates how Bowie has inspired others to challenge convention and pursue freedom of expression.”

Bowie’s first major hit Space Oddity (1969) and the introduction of his first fictionalised stage persona Major Tom, inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, granted him critical and commercial success as an established solo artist. His cinematic influences abound with his elaborate storyboards and set design for the Diamond Dogs tour (1974) – originally envisioned as a musical – inspired by Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis (1927), leading him to take the combination of rock music and theatre to new heights.


Promo photograph of David Bowie for ‘Diamond Dogs,’ 1974 by Terry O’Neill.

DAVID BOWIE is // ACMI, Melbourne, July 16-November 1

Registering for pre-sale tickets here – highly recommended.

Originally published by SNAP October 14, 2014.