David Bowie is Coming to the AGO this Fall
Straight from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, North America’s debut of hit exhibition includes culture icon’s original stage costumes, instruments, album art and music videos
TORONTO—This fall the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) offers North America its first chance to take an exciting odyssey through the world of pioneering artist David Bowie—musician, performer and style icon—in the acclaimed exhibition David Bowie is, direct from the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London, England. Spanning five decades and featuring more than 300 objects from Bowie’s personal archive, the multi-media show exposes the groundbreaking artist’s collaborations in the fields of fashion, sound, theatre, art and film. David Bowie is will open on Sept. 25, 2013 and runs to Nov. 27, 2013, giving Toronto two full months to live the experience. The AGO is the exhibition’s first stop on its world tour.
Acclaimed by the New York Times as “united in sound and vision in a way rarely seen in a museum,” David Bowie is marks the first international exhibition devoted to the British-born musician and performer (born David Robert Jones in 1947), who has sold more than 140 million albums to date throughout his genre-defying career. Organized thematically, the show immerses visitors in a spectacular and interactive trip through Bowie’s numerous personae and legendary performances, with particular attention paid to his artistic influences. His experiments with Surrealism, German Expressionism, Music Hall, mime and Japanese Kabuki performance are all explored in an explosion of colour, light and sound.
“This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate a living artist whose radical artfulness of identity has had an enormous influence on art, design and contemporary culture as we know it,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO. “We are thrilled to work with the world-class V&A in bringing the provocative genius and vision of David Bowie to Toronto.”
Maintained by the artist himself, the David Bowie Archive is home to more than 75,000 objects. Working with Sandy Hirskowitz, the collection’s archivist, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh (curators of theatre and performance at the V&A) were granted unprecedented access to explore and hand-pick the costumes, footage and objects for the exhibition. This marked the first time a museum has been allowed to display items from the collection.
David Bowie is will be on view on the fourth and fifth floors of the AGO’s contemporary tower. In addition to Bowie’s own handwritten set lists, lyrics, diary entries, instruments and sketches, the show highlights the many artists who have collaborated with the culture chameleon over the years. The collection includes:
• More than 50 stage costumes including Ziggy Stardust bodysuits (1972) designed by Freddie Burretti;
• Music videos by David Mallet including Boys Keep Swinging (1979) and Let’s Dance (1983);
• Set designs created for the Diamond Dogs tour (1974);
• Kansai Yamamoto’s flamboyant creations for the Aladdin Sane tour (1973);
• Photographs by Helmut Newton, Brian Duffy and John Rowlands;
• Album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert and Edward Bell; and
• Excerpts from films and live performances including Top of the Pops (1972), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Saturday Night Live (1979).
David Bowie is was organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Costumes, materials and objects courtesy of the David Bowie Archive, with thanks to Archivist Sandy Hirshkowitz.
Sound experience by Sennheiser.
To ensure the best audio experience for visitors, the AGO is working in partnership with audio specialist Sennheiser. “We are extremely pleased to work with the renowned Art Gallery of Ontario on this outstanding exhibition,” said Paul Whiting, President of Global Sales at Sennheiser. “We will not only bring equipment to this exhibition but also our audio expertise offering visitors an immersive 3DAudio experience.” The Sennheiser Group, with its headquarters in Wedemark near Hanover, Germany, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. The family-owned company, which was established in 1945, employs more than 2,100 people worldwide, and has manufacturing plants in Germany, Ireland and the USA. Sennheiser is represented by subsidiaries and partners worldwide. Also part of the Sennheiser Group are Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin (studio microphones and monitor loudspeakers), and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications A/S (headsets for PCs, offices and call centres).
ABOUT THE AGO
With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Kenneth Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit ago.net to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.
Mar. 16 – June 16, 2013: Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art
Aug. 17, 2013 – Oct. 27, 2013: Ai Weiwei: According to What?
Nov. 30, 2013 – Mar. 2, 2014: The Great Upheaval: Modern Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection
Contemporary programming at the AGO is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.
The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.
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