"David Bowie Is" Opens at MCA in Chicago
September 23, 2014 11:06 PM   Subscribe

Joseph Erbentraut and Kim Bellware preview the Museum of Contemporary Art's exhibition of "David Bowie Is," for The Huffington Post
“David Bowie Is,” opening Tuesday at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, contains more than 300 artifacts selected from an incredible 75,000 items Bowie had archived over the years. With a location-based headset, viewers can hear corresponding interviews, commentary and -- of course -- music as they move through the show, thanks to technology provided by exhibit sponsor Sennheiser.
The exhibition will be on view through January 4th, 2015.
posted by ob1quixote (23 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
A documentary of the same name, shot last year during the closing night of the record setting Victoria & Albert Museum showing of the exhibition (previously), will screen today in select theaters in the Chicago and Toronto areas. There are additional screenings tomorrow in Miami and throughout Ontario and again Saturday in Ontario.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:06 PM on September 23, 2014

Just got back from the L.A. screening of the film. I think I'm going to fly back to Chicago for a weekend and take in a little hometown visit with a side of Bowie!
posted by mykescipark at 11:14 PM on September 23, 2014

We just saw this in Berlin a couple of months back, just around the corner from Hansa Studios. If your inner Bowie fanboy or fangirl is twitching, you must go see this. It's marvellous.
posted by daveje at 12:14 AM on September 24, 2014

"David Bowie is..."

...the Sovereign of the Guild of Calamitous Intent!!
posted by JHarris at 12:57 AM on September 24, 2014 [10 favorites]

That has been disputed.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:15 AM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Everybody knows who you are, my master."

"Really? You're sure? Everybody?"

"Pretty much. And may I say that Hours was a totally underrated album."

"Yeah? I mean, I thought so, but wasn't it kinda too little too late?"

"That would be Tin Machine."
posted by Iridic at 1:21 AM on September 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've mentioned the Venture Bros. bit before, so here's another from Douglas Adams' So Long And Thanks For All The Fish:

"If you took a couple of David Bowies and stuck one of the David Bowies on top of the other David Bowie, then attached another David Bowie to the end of the arms of the upper of the first two David Bowies, and wrapped the whole business up in a dirty beach robe you would have something that didn’t exactly look like John Watson, but that his friends would find hauntingly familiar."
posted by JHarris at 1:26 AM on September 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Damn, the show ends just before ALA Midwinter. What lousy timing.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:35 AM on September 24, 2014

I saw this at the AGO- it was excellent. The audio-visual components are surprisingly well done. Also, seeing things like the Ziggy Stardust kimono or his Klaus Nomi-designed costume up close and personal is absolutely worth the price of admission.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:19 AM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I saw this exhibit with my gf when it was in London. I kept my ticket because it says David Bowie is... In your hands. It was really excellent and worth seeing.
posted by Braeburn at 4:21 AM on September 24, 2014

hoping I haven't already stepped over the line here.

You will be permitted to survive another season.

For now.
posted by aramaic at 5:53 AM on September 24, 2014

Just saw the documentary last night (in Austin) and was wondering where the exhibit was. I'll have to see if I can scrape pennies for a weekend in Chicago.
posted by immlass at 6:56 AM on September 24, 2014

Here are we, one magical movement from Kether to Malkuth.
There are you, you drive like a demon from station to station

(During the sessions Bowie was heavily dependent on drugs, especially cocaine, and recalls almost nothing of the production.)
posted by bukvich at 7:20 AM on September 24, 2014

I saw it at the AGO as well. Really amazingly well done--it feels like you've been plunged into Bowie's brain, with handy little notes telling yuo where you are. And as TheWhiteSkull said, just seeing those incredible costumes up close is worth admission alone. Not to mention actually getting a visceral sense of how terrifyingly skinny the man is.

The only thing I felt hit a sour note was a small lack of contextualization. His influences are noted hither and yon, but I feel like it would have been really interesting to show his influence on glam/costume-rock, mutable artistic personas, etc. Then again, as I understand it he was intimately involved in the whole exhibit from conceptualization onwards, so perhaps he might have seen it as too egotistical?

Anyway if you have the chance go see this.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:03 AM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I missed out on tickets for the original V&A exhibition (it sold out pretty quickly), though did go to a screening of a live walkthrough of it that they had in a few cinemas. Later, I managed to see the exhibition when it moved to the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. It was good, though the headsets (which played sound loops depending on which location they were in) were a bit distracting.
posted by acb at 9:01 AM on September 24, 2014

Saw this at the V & A. Strong recommend.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 1:01 PM on September 24, 2014

His influences are noted hither and yon,

His influences were Hilter and yon. FTFY
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 1:02 PM on September 24, 2014

So story. When this exhibition was happening in London I ended up putting together a podcast about it for a community radio station. To spruce it up a little (core was presenter + David Bowie lover going through the gallery, fine but drab) I went out to get people on the street to finish the sentence 'David Bowie is...'

I'm pretty nervous doing this (is it a terrible idea? this is one of the few podcast I've done, it's going to be horrible...) and the first person I go up to with my weird request looks at me like she's only half-understood and nods (does she even really speak English? This is a relatively touristy part of town...)

"Okay great, so just finish the sentence. Recording. When you're ready. Go."

She leans into the microphone.

"David Bowie... is God."
posted by litleozy at 1:22 PM on September 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

Saw it in Toronto last Fall. It was easily the most impressive museum installation I've seen in years.

It's going to be touring until at least Spring 2016. So far, Chicago is the only US site. Her's the schedule:

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA from 23 September 2014 – 4 January 2015
Philharmonie de Paris/ Cité de la Musique, Paris, France from 2 March to 31 May 2015
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne, Australia from 16 July to 1 November 2015
Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands from 15 December 2015 to 15 March 2016
posted by bcarter3 at 3:11 PM on September 24, 2014

And, when the heavens align in perfect harmony, you get...David Bowie as Tilda Swinton as David Bowie
posted by Thorzdad at 4:06 PM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

The documentary is also showing here in Tempe this weekend.

Mr. Nat, although himself somehow not attracted to David Bowie, knows that I simply don't understand or quite believe that fact. So he said we should go see the film. Good, because I don't think I'll be anywhere the exhibition itself is going..
posted by nat at 4:40 PM on September 24, 2014

nat: “The documentary is also showing here in Tempe this weekend. ”
Apologies. It might also be playing around the west coast. I compiled my list by checking the listings out 1,000 km from my location, but obviously that leaves much of the west uncovered. If anyone is at all interested in seeing it, I urge them to visit the film's website, and use the 'Is it playing near me' search.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:51 PM on September 24, 2014

And, when the heavens align in perfect harmony, you get...David Bowie as Tilda Swinton as David Bowie

Fucking Hell!

...see, that's why they're BOTH ridiculously great. I mean, it's not the only reason, but it's a pretty goddamn good signifier.
posted by aramaic at 5:29 PM on September 24, 2014

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