❚ AT THE DAVID BOWIE CENTRE for the Study of Performing Arts fans will soon be able to get up-close to Bowie’s creative genius like never before. From 2025 the Victoria & Albert Museum’s East Storehouse in London’s Olympic Park will house more than 80,000 items amassed during the six decades of the performer’s pioneering career. His archive will be made available to the public, from fans to school children and researchers, thanks to the David Bowie Estate and a donation of £10m from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Warner Music Group.
The archive features handwritten lyrics, letters, sheet music, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s own instruments, album artwork and awards. It also includes more intimate writings, thought processes and unrealised projects, the majority of which have never been seen in public before.
V&A East Storehouse will be a new type of museum experience taking visitors behind the scenes of the stored collections. The new Centre will also support the ongoing conservation, research and study of the archive.
Highlights include stage costumes such as Bowie’s breakthrough Ziggy Stardust ensembles designed by Freddie Burretti (1972), Kansai Yamamoto’s flamboyant creations for the Aladdin Sane tour (1973) and the Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen for the Earthling album cover (1997). The archive also includes handwritten lyrics for songs including Fame (1975), “Heroes” (1977) and Ashes to Ashes (1980), as well as examples of the “cut-up” method of generating lyrics introduced to Bowie by the writer William Burroughs. Additionally, the archive holds a series of intimate notebooks from every era of Bowie’s life up to his death in 2016.
Tilda Swinton, one of David Bowie’s friends and collaborators, said: “In 2013, the V&A’s David Bowie Is… exhibition gave us unquestionable evidence that Bowie is a spectacular example of an artist who not only made unique and phenomenal work, but who has an influence and inspiration far beyond that work itself. Ten years later, the regenerative nature of his spirit grows ever further in popular resonance down through younger generations.”➢ Read further detail at the official David Bowie website