“David Bowie Is” an impressive retrospective of influential performer


“David Bowie Is” runs from Sept. 23 to Jan. 4 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. (Internet Photo)

Delaney Murray, Contributing Writer

“David Bowie Is” is an exhibit dedicated to the avant-garde musician that opened on Sep. 23 at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Consisting of over four hundred personal items including  handwritten lyrics, original costumes, album artwork and his own instruments. The exhibit is organized in chronological order and describes Bowie’s launch to superstardom and his ability to differentiate himself from his stage characters.

Walking into the exhibit, it is helpful to remember that David Bowie is a controversial superstar. The way he dresses, performs and acts is uncomfortable for some people partially due to his willingness to show his skin early on. The exhibition does not pull punches when talking about his sexuality, flamboyance and racy style.

Each room in the exhibit covers a different period of time in his life and is ordered chronologically. The theme of one room is his childhood that includes the alto saxophone his father gave him, a video of his first performance and a photo of his first band. The next room is about the meaning behind his classic song “Space Oddity,” and it contains the movie poster that it was based off of, and the original handwritten lyrics.

The most interesting experience is the seamless headphone system that works all by motion sensor. Each room switches to a different song or interview pertaining to that room’s theme. The exhibit shows a wide range of his personal effects, from his handwritten lyrics to his Union Jack coat designed by himself and Alexander McQueen. Seeing all of the costumes is truly breathtaking. It is easy to tell how much thought and work went into each costume because people see the costumes in videos but many are in awe when they see his wardrobe up close. Every part of the exhibit is astounding due to the layout and the music that plays during the tour.

“David Bowie Is” is an incredible experience for those who are interested in learning more about the thought process that went into Bowie’s music. Tickets are on sale now and the exhibit goes until Jan. 4.