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A David Bowie archive encompassing more than 80,000 items is to be made available to the public for the very first time.
The late pop icon – who died in 2016 at the age of 69 following a battle with liver cancer – will be immortalised through the creation of The David Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts at V+A East Storehouse, in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 2025.
Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the V+A, said in a statement: “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!”
The archive will span the entirety of the ‘Life On Mars’ hitmaker’s career, handwritten lyrics, letters, sheet music, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs as well as the legendary musician’s own instruments.
A spokesperson from the David Bowie Estate, said: “With David’s life’s work becoming part of the UK’s national collections, he takes his rightful place amongst many other cultural icons and artistic geniuses. The David Bowie Centre for the Study of Performance – and the behind the scenes access that V+A East Storehouse offers– will mean David’s work can be shared with the public in ways that haven’t been possible before, and we’re so pleased to be working closely with the V+A to continue to commemorate David’s enduring cultural influence.”