London’s V&A museum said on Thursday it had secured the archive of late music star David Bowie for the nation, acquiring more than 80,000 items spanning his career which will be made available to the public from 2025.
The museum, which hosted the critically acclaimed ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition in 2013, will open the David Bowie Center for the Study of Performing Arts at its V&A East Storehouse in east London, where fans, students and scholars will be able to gain insight into the pioneering British singer-songwriter’s creative process.
The archive contains Bowie’s handwritten lyrics for songs like “Fame” and “Heroes”, sketches, letters, costumes – including his Ziggy Stardust pieces – stage props, instruments as well as intimate writings and unrealized projects, many of which have never before been seen in public. .
There are also over 70,000 photos, prints, slides, negatives, large format transparencies and contact sheets taken by famous photographers like Terry O’Neill and Helmut Newton.
“The archive is fascinating, it follows David Bowie’s career and his life was art,” Kate Bailey, curator and senior producer, theater and performance at the V&A, told Reuters.
“He gets insight into the creative process behind so many of his music videos, his songs, his stage shows, his theater performances.”
Bowie, a visionary rock star who straddled the worlds of music, fashion, theater and art for five decades, died of cancer in 2016, aged 69.
“With David Bowie’s work now part of the UK’s national collections, he takes his rightful place among many other cultural icons and artistic geniuses,” a spokesperson for the David Bowie Estate said in the statement. press release from V&A regarding the acquisition.
The museum said it has secured the archives and could create the new center thanks to the David Bowie estate and a 10 million pound ($12 million) donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Warner Music Group.
“What’s extraordinary about this legacy is that we believe it will help inspire the next generation of pioneers and creative practitioners,” Bailey said.
“We can reflect and see how Bowie changed the world and then have other people pick it up and run with it, that’s great too.”