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David Bowie’s Archive to be exhibited at Victoria and Albert Museum in London

The Victoria and Albert Museum announces it will secure the archive of David Bowie, revealing the creative processes of one of the most pioneering and influential figures in the history of live and recorded music, film and fashion.

David Bowie’s collection

From 2025, the archive will be made available to the public, from fans to school children and researchers. Through the creation of The David Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts at V&A East Storehouse the collection will be available to his fans. The acquisition and creation of The Centre has been made possible thanks to the David Bowie Estate and a generous donation of £10m from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Warner Music Group.

Encompassing more than 80,000 items, the archive traces Bowie’s creative processes as a musical innovator, cultural icon, and advocate for self-expression and reinvention from his early career in the 1960s to his death in 2016. Alongside the creation of the new Centre, the gift will support the ongoing conservation, research, and study of the archive.

David Bowie was one of the greatest musicians and performers of all time. The V&A is thrilled to become custodians of his incredible archive, and to be able to open it up for the public. Bowie’s radical innovations across music, theatre, film, fashion, and style – from Berlin to Tokyo to London – continue to influence design and visual culture and inspire creatives from Janelle Monáe to Lady Gaga to Tilda Swinton and Raf Simons. Our new collections centre, V&A East Storehouse, is the ideal place to put Bowie’s work in dialogue with the V&A’s collection spanning 5,000 years of art, design, and performance. My deepest thanks go to the David Bowie Estate, Blavatnik Family Foundation, and Warner Music Group for helping make this a reality and for providing a new sourcebook for the Bowies of tomorrow.” 

Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A

The David Bowie Archive

The David Bowie Archive joins the V&A’s Theatre & Performance collections, which includes the archives of influential individuals and organisations, from Vivien Leigh to Peter BrookAkram Khan Dance Company, The Royal Court Theatre, and Glastonbury Festival.

The acquisition follows the V&A’s ground-breaking 2013 exhibition, David Bowie Is…, which marked the first time a museum had been given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive.

The exhibition was seen by over two million people around the world as part of its international tour, becoming one of the V&A’s most popular exhibitions of all time.

*Cover Picture: Striped bodysuit for Aladdin Sane tour, 1973 Design by Kansai Yamamoto Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita © Sukita The David Bowie Archive 2012

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