V&A's dazzling David Bowie exhibition is a triumph

Mar 21, 2013

Costumes, photographs, graphics... the show provides a ringing endorsement of Bowie's 'pure stardom'

What you need to know
A major retrospective of the career of pop icon David Bowie opens at the Victoria & Albert Museum this Saturday. David Bowie Is includes more than 300 items from the Bowie archives including costumes, photography, film, set designs and musical instruments.

The exhibition also features material from Bowie's collaborations with artists and designers in the fields of fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, art and film, including Ziggy Stardust bodysuits designed by Freddie Burretti, photography by Brian Duffy and album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert and Edward Bell. Until 11 August.

What the critics like
The V&A's stunning new exhibition provides a grand stage for an inspirational artist who reshaped a generation, says Sarah Crompton in the Daily Telegraph. It's a vibrant, thought-provoking show that "makes you feel you have entered the creative mind of an astonishing cultural icon".

Ben Luke in the Evening Standard calls the show a triumph. The curators have raided Bowie's archive and the depth of material, from dazzling costumes to delightful juvenilia, is "astonishing".

It's "a simple, ringing endorsement of pure stardom", says John Walsh in The Independent. A room with a floor-to-ceiling screen showing clips of Bowie's finest performances and a video-wall displaying his most covetable stage outfits convey his epic stature.

What they don't like
What's missing is a sense of the contributions made by those around Bowie, says Will Hodgkinson in The Times, from the style influences of Angie Bowie, to the musical collaborations with Brian Eno and Iggy Pop. The show leaves the visitor dazzled, and a bit confused, but that's what Bowie would want.

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