It is not new that the art world sometimes presents unconventional exhibitions that make you think ‘whaaaaat, is this art’? ‘Is this really something that should be in a museum?’ When I read that the V&A was putting David Bowie centre stage in a new exhibition opening this week I smiled at first and thought to myself, when did he, appart from his booth cut jeans, become any artistic at all?
On the other hand, I am really not surprised. Actually, exhibitions like this one has become something of our time which are rapidly growing in popularity. It is not all about exhibiting paintings and portraits anymore – today it is more about taking a well-known subject and presenting it in an artistic way. Galleries are adapting to a modern society and have realised that Turner and Gainsborough might not be in the interest of the whole nation. Therefore, because galleries are trying to reach a larger audience, subjects like ‘David Bowie’ become art. Picture this – David Bowie is a man (no surprise there) and not a painting or a photography. But, because he is a superstar (a funky-looking one as well) and someone people are interested in, his life and career can be exposed in a creative way and presented as an exhibition.
Timing is also very important when planning an exhibition like this one and it is surely no accident that it opens this week. According to the Guardian, this week Bowie yet again hit the top spot on the music charters in the UK with his first new material in a decade, the album The Next Day. Not just that, the man, who actually qualifies for a pensioners bus ticket, is the ‘art’ that the V&A applauds for breaking their fastest selling exhibition record ever. With more than 42,000 pre-booked tickets before the opening on Sunday the gallery is ready to have their doors ran down by Bowie fans.
It is no secret that presenting a superstar like Bowie in an exhibition looked forward to by so many Bowie fanatics are not an easy task. Curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh have digged out more than 300 objects from the legends own archive. The exhibition are presenting not only his career, but the lasting influence he has had on music, film and – strictly speaking fur boas and orange hair – fashion.
I have to say, I never thought David Bowie ever would be mentioned in connection with this blog, but there we are. In my opinion, that is why art is such a fascinating subject to write about, because you never know what is going to come your way. The fact that a pop icon is art in the 21st century makes me wonder what we can expect in the future. Exciting or scary – up to you. All I know is that ‘old school’ arts are not going anywhere so we might as well welcome the new.