This anticipated exhibition explores 64 year old Bowie, not only as an influential musician, but also as a celebrated performance artist and an acclaimed theatre and film actor. Bowie is also an established painter and sculptor.
David Bowie, Artist is a multi-platform exhibition and multimedia kisoks will be on display on the 6th floor of the education center from May 9th until July 15th, 2011. Also a cinema retrospective will screen on select Thursdays and Fridays from June 3rd to June 30th, 2011 and a special presentation of classic sci-fi The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), directed by Nicolas Roeg, will screen at Film Forum (209 West Houston Street), from June 24th to July 7th, 2011.
On the acting front Bowie has appeared in a range of small but notable roles in recent years; as himself in Zoolander (2001), and as physicist Nikola Tesla in the Christopher Nolan film, The Prestige (2006).
Bowie also provided the voice for Maltazard in the English language version of the Luc Besson film, Arthur et les Minimoys (2002), and also provided the voice for Lord Royal Highness in the SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis (2007) TV movie. Most recently Bowie portrayed Ogilvie in the 2008 drama August, directed by Austin Chick.
Despite a lack of official album releases, Bowie is still going strong, he is reportedly creating a coffee table book entitled Bowie: Object, and if the fan reaction to the unofficial releases, (such as the Bowie/NIN concert footage which surfaced online in August 2010) is anything to go by - Bowie is still more relevant than ever (although Bowie is often always referred to in the media these days as the father of the up and coming visionary director Duncan Jones (Source Code (2006) and Moon (2009)), who is a great writer/director in his own right.
With this exhibition, we can all forget Lady Gaga and Sasha Fierce, and go back to the good old days of Ziggy Stardust, the androgynous alien rock star and give credit to Bowie for revitalising popular music with the screening of the concert film/documentary Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - which famously captured the moment Bowie retired Ziggy Stardust. This shocking moment was the basis for the brilliant Velvet Goldmine (1998), directed by Todd Hayes.
Also screening is the classic Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, directed by Nagisa Oshima, which I reviewed upon its DVD release in 2008, it is a personal favorite and recommended feature.
Another highlight of the cinema retrospective program is The Hunger (1983), which is notable for being the first feature film directed by Tony Scott - who went on to direct Top Gun (1985) and Beverly Hills Cop 2 (1987), and the cast includes Bowie alongside Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon as a trio of vampires. This influential feature is a must see event.
Another cult favorite is Labyrinth (1986), directed by the late Jim Henson, a family film which continues to inspire grown men and women to participate in annual Masquerade Balls.
Other key feature films screening include The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Willem Dafoe as Jesus Christ, Harvey Keitel as Judas Iscariot, Barbara Hershey as Mary Magdalene, Bowie as Pontius Pilate and Harry Dean Stanton as Paul and The Linguini Incident (1991), a little known film starring Bowie, Rosanna Arquette and Eszter Balint. This special screening will include a Q and A with director Richard Shepard.
MAD is known for preserving and displaying the work of American artists, and at first glance it seems strange that MAD is honoring British born Bowie (real name David Robert Jones), however American culture and American music has been integral to Bowie's career. Bowie of course travelled to America, after the release of his third album, The Man Who Sold the World (1970) and was inspired by the then burgeoning rock music scene which included Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. The legend is that when Bowie arrived back in London, Ziggy Stardust was created and was to be unleashed.
By 1974, Bowie had settled in Los Angeles, after an initial stay in New York, which is when the documentary Cracked Actor was filmed.
In 1975 Young Americans was released, and showcased another side of Bowie's musical interests; Philadelphia soul. The album featured the late Luther Vandross.
It is worth noting the stage name itself - 'Bowie' was inspired by the American hunting knife of the same name. Bowie for many years has resided in New York City with his wife Iman and family.
This is a fantastic opportunity for Bowie fans to revisit some classic Bowie features, plus it is also a rare opportunity for those who aren't too familiar with the music and art of Bowie, to fully embrace and appreciate the living legend.
Today tributes to Bowie are everywhere - be it in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004);
Inglourious Basterds (2009);
And even Vittel water.
For full details on this upcoming exhibition, including ticketing and the full cinema program, please see here.