Friday, November 07, 2014

David Bowie Is

David Bowie Is is plastered with declarative sentences that describe David Bowie. David Bowie is now. David Bowie is change. David Bowie is here for you.

David Bowie is not to be ignored is the sense I got most. This is an artist so prolific that he has at least a hundred studio albums, more than a handful of hits, and has set the stage for glam rock, shock rock, art rock, cock rock, androgyny, misanthropy, and non-linear revolution. There are a thousand interesting different little things in the exhibit: a napkin he used to wipe off smeared lipstick from the Boys Keep Swinging tour, thousands of pairs of shoes and show outfits, lyrics sheets with changes, a small video where he talks about an Apple program he developed in the 1990s to randomize sentences that might inspire songs. You have his music, videos from the original songs, starting with "Space Oddity" and going all the way through Earthling and other late hits of the 90s before he took almost a twelve-year break between putting out albums.

David Bowie is not a tall man.

David Bowie is tiny in form.

David Bowie is a chameleon.

With all that though, David Bowie is an unquestionable force, a presence that you can’t help but to be awed by. In reflection on who David Bowie is I found myself thinking about who I am, who we all are. David Bowie has shaped his life, put it out there for public consumption, making it in many ways a shared experience. And while you can see that he is certainly prolific this exhibit doesn’t feel like a brag. Instead, you leave it thinking about what it is that creates the presence of a life. We are all our own tiny little museums; pockets of memory and experience, our own tissues and napkins, inspirations, stages, changes. What struck me about this was that David Bowie took a moment to stop and reflect on who he is versus who we think he is.

It made me wonder the same thing about myself.


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