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July 24, 2014

The David Bowie Exhibit Comes to Chicago

By Sasha Levine | Art

Masayoshi Sukita. © Sukita / The David Bowie Archive 2012.

After a successful run in both London and Toronto, the much-acclaimed exhibit “David Bowie Is” is set to hit Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) this September for the traveling showcase’s sole stop in the United States.

First realized at the Victoria and Albert Museum in March 2013, the show makes its American debut with a chronological perspective on the icon’s evolution, focusing on his creative processes—beginning with his formative years as David Robert Jones in post–World War II London—and his collaborative efforts with other artists and designers. The exhibit as a whole explores how Bowie, as both a pioneering musician and persona, influenced and was influenced by simultaneous movements in the arts.

“His constant reinvention and strategic image management help us understand the popular culture of today,” explains Michael Darling, the museum’s James W. Alsdorf chief curator. “We also feel it is important to look outside the realm of the visual arts for clues to what is important in contemporary culture, and David Bowie’s career is a compelling analogue to what has been happening in other creative fields over the past 40 years.”

More than 300 items will be on display as part of the immersive experience, including costumes, photography, album artwork, handwritten lyrics, original fashions and set designs culled from Bowie’s decades-long career. Some highlights include his Freddie Burretti–designed Ziggy Stardust bodysuits (1972); clips from films and live performances, including his appearance on Saturday Night Live (1979); and previously unseen storyboards and tour footage. Tickets go on sale July 31; exhibit runs September 23 through January 4, 2015; 220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-280-2660; mcachicago.org.

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