Over the course of five decades, David Bowie drafted the new rules of rock and roll—and the rest of us are still trying to keep up. After breaking ticket records at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the touring exhibition “David Bowie Is” hits the Brooklyn Museum for its final stop from March 2 to July 15, with more than 400 objects from the celestial pop icon’s life, including costumes, lyric sheets and performance clips. Here’s what you should look (and listen) for in this celebration of all things Thin White Duke.
The geolocated audio accompaniment of “David Bowie Is” provides a soundtrack for nearly every area of the exhibit, mostly linked to video footage: Enter the “Space Oddity” section, and the opening chords of that 1969 stunner strum within your ears, synced to Mick Rock’s music video. Catch more than 40 of these videos, film appearances and performances by the envelope-pushing multihyphenate.
Tracing influences like Japanese Kabuki theater and the style of Elvis Presley, the show packs in 60-plus immortal stage looks, chronicling the evolution of his personae Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and the slick, suit-clad star of the ’80s. Marvel at couture by Alexander McQueen, Kansai Yamamoto and Freddie Burretti, and see how Bowie’s defiant brand of androgyny reshaped rock.
Honor the late musician’s legacy at screenings, talks and, naturally, dance parties all over town this spring. The museum hosts viewings of Basquiat (March 8), The Hunger (June 6), Labyrinth (June 14)—which show his range as an actor—and the Bowie-inspired Velvet Goldmine (June 21), along with a Thin White Duke edition of Music Video Night on June 28. For inventive re-imaginations of your favorite songs, catch Burnt Sugar Arkestra’s Tribute to the Bowie songbook at Brooklyn Museum on March 29, and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus performing Queer Genius: Bowie and Beyond at Skirball Center on May 19.
You can read Time Out Chicago's full review from the exhibit’s 2014–2015 run here. Tickets run $20 weekdays, and $25 on weekends. Better plan your tribute look now.