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David Bowie Is (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago: Exhibition Catalogues) Hardcover – Special Edition, April 16, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 833 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This companion piece to an exhibition at London's Victoria and Albert Museum explores the iconography, fashion, and music of pop icon David Bowie. Drawn to rock'n'roll as a rebellion against his suburban London upbringing, Bowie's career has been one of constant reinvention and innovation. As a musician and composer, his influences are wide ranging: he borrows as much from contemporaries such as The Rolling Stones and German synthesizer bands Neu! and Kraftwerk as from composers Kurt Weill and frequent collaborator Brian Eno. He is also heavily influenced by broader culture, notably adopting the cut up method often employed by William Burroughs, while being "strongly influenced" by the video work of Andy Warhol. Beyond music, however, Bowie cultivated a constantly shifting sense of style—most famously as his glam rock, alien alter-ego Ziggy Stardust—his various costumes were "Dadaist in impulse and Surrealist in conception and execution." Particularly striking, however, was the cobweb body-suit he wore for The 1980 Floor Show, which features two glitter covered mannequin hands that seem to be fondling his chest as a kind of camp provocation. Indeed, as Camille Paglia notes, Bowie came to embody "the shaman and prophet who crossed into forbidden sexual terrain." (Apr.)

About the Author

Victoria Broackes is a curator of theatre & performance at the V&A. Geoffrey Marsh is director of the V&A theatre collections. Sir Christopher Frayling is a critic and writer and former rector of the Royal College of Art, London. Howard Goodall is an Emmy, BRIT, and BAFTA award–winning composer and broadcaster. Camille Paglia is University Professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her books include Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. Jon Savage is a writer and broadcaster. His books include Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture and England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ V & A Publishing; Special edition (April 16, 2013)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1851777377
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1851777372
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 4.89 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9.5 x 1.25 x 12.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 833 ratings

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
833 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 17, 2013
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 26, 2014
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Top reviews from other countries

Michalis Theo
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous tome that will please even the casual Bowie fan
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 10, 2017
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Michalis Theo
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous tome that will please even the casual Bowie fan
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 10, 2017
The positive reviews about this book were very very encouraging, but I must admit I expected a - mostly - picture book, with a big part of it dedicated to David's costumes etc. I was quite wrong. It's so much more than that! Not to mention that it's huge and, well, gorgeous! The access to the official David Bowie Archive means that there's a lot of material that most of us haven't seen before. Every photo etc is so well reproduced and organised in a quite inventive way. There are quite a few essays too, all very interesting and of the same high quality as the rest of the book. I would recommend this book even to the casual Bowie fan without hesitation.
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17 people found this helpful
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Walleroonie
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous coffee table book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 8, 2018
4 people found this helpful
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M. Bello
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any serious Bowie fan.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 2, 2016
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M. Bello
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any serious Bowie fan.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 2, 2016
I'm going to keep it short. The pictures are simply antonishing, very well documented with lots of cool facts and info. In terms of structure it's also beautifully made, I, as a photographer and DTP (desktop publisher) I think they did a great job putting all together. Materials are great, made with taste and good sense, looks classy and feel good in your hands. Being picky there are a few (very few indeed) manufacturing flaws printing wise, some spots here and there, but as I said very little, still a 5 stars product.
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9 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on February 22, 2022
Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully put together
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on September 28, 2022