The V&A Museum in London has acquired an enormous, 80,000-piece archive of fabric from the property of David Bowie, it confirmed as we speak.
The archive incorporates objects together with handwritten notebooks, letters, costumes, devices, awards, trend, images, movie, music movies, set designs and extra — a lot of which had been exhibited in the course of the “David Bowie Is” touring museum exhibit that was considered by greater than 2 million individuals between 2013 and 2018. In keeping with the announcement, “It additionally consists of extra intimate writings, thought processes and unrealised initiatives, nearly all of which have by no means been seen in public earlier than.” The objects are set to go on show in 2025 at The David Bowie Centre for the Examine of Performing Arts in Stratford, which was additionally unveiled as we speak.
“The archive traces Bowie’s artistic processes as a musical innovator, cultural icon, and advocate for self-expression and reinvention from his early profession within the Sixties to his loss of life in 2016. Alongside the creation of the brand new Centre, the reward will assist the continuing conservation, analysis, and examine of the archive,” the announcement continues. In its manner, the Bowie Centre shall be a continuation and enlargement of the formidable reissue marketing campaign the property has undertaken with Warner Music, which releases a number of lavish archival albums yearly.
The museum’s new Stratford outpost, referred to as the V&A East Storehouse, is ready to be a “new sort” of expertise which is able to retailer over 250,000 objects, 350,000 books and 1,000 archives in conservation labs, analysis and studying rooms, galleries and artistic areas all through the constructing.
The overall determine paid for the archive was not disclosed, however the museum mentioned it had been made potential with a donation from a £10 million ($12 million) donation from the Blavatnik Household Basis and Warner Music Group. A supply clarified to Selection that the Blavatnik/ Warner donation was meant to go towards the museum’s infrastructure and maintenance fairly than the acquisition of the archive.
Nonetheless, for context, the same archive from Bob Dylan consisting of 6,000 objects was reported to have offered for between $15-$20 million in 2016.
Final 12 months Selection solely revealed the property had offered Bowie’s publishing catalogue to Warner Chappell for upwards of $250 million.
“David Bowie was one of many biggest musicians and performers of all time,” mentioned Dr Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A. “The V&A is thrilled to change into custodians of his unbelievable archive, and to have the ability to open it up for the general public. Bowie’s radical improvements throughout music, theatre, movie, trend, and elegance – from Berlin to Tokyo to London – proceed to affect design and visible tradition and encourage creatives from Janelle Monáe to Woman Gaga to Tilda Swinton and Raf Simons. My deepest thanks go to the David Bowie Property, Blavatnik Household Basis and Warner Music Group for serving to make this a actuality and for offering a brand new sourcebook for the Bowies of tomorrow.”
A spokesperson from the Bowie property mentioned, “With David’s life’s work turning into a part of the UK’s nationwide collections, he takes his rightful place amongst many different cultural icons and inventive geniuses. The David Bowie Centre for the Examine of Efficiency – and the behind the scenes entry that V&A East Storehouse gives – will imply David’s work may be shared with the general public in ways in which haven’t been potential earlier than, and we’re so happy to be working intently with the V&A to proceed to commemorate David’s enduring cultural affect.” Len Blavatnik added, “We’re very proud to assist the V&A and permit for the creation of this irreplaceable archive to protect and showcase David Bowie’s iconic profession. His affect on music and widespread tradition all through the world can’t be overstated.”
Tilda Swinton, one in every of David Bowie’s pals and collaborators, mentioned: “In 2013, the V&A’s ‘David Bowie Is…’ exhibition gave us unquestionable proof that Bowie is a spectacular instance of an artist, who not solely made distinctive and phenomenal work, however who has an affect and inspiration far past that work itself. Ten years later, the persevering with regenerative nature of his spirit grows ever additional in widespread resonance and cultural attain down via youthful generations. In buying his archive for posterity, the V&A will now be capable to supply entry to David Bowie’s historical past – and the portal it represents – not solely to practising artists from all fields, however to each final one in every of us, and for the foreseeable future. It is a actually nice piece of stories, which deserves the sincerest gratitude and congratulations to all these concerned who’ve made it potential.”