The world’s first retrospective of the pop and style icon David Bowie comes to Barcelona on May 25th 2017.

The Museu del Disseny de Barcelona will be the only venue in Spain that will host “David Bowie Is” in exclusive the successful and groundbreaking exhibition -curated by the Victoria and Albert Museum (London)- that has just reached a million and a half visits on its world tour.

From 25 May 2017 the international exhibition “David Bowie Is” will be shown at the Museu del Disseny de Barcelona. This brings the spectacular show of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), one of the most successful exhibitions in the long-standing history of the London museum, to the city of Barcelona.

The retrospective David Bowie creates a comprehensive audio-visual exhibition experience using multimedia technology at the most advanced technical level.

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London was given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to curate the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie – one of the most pioneering and influential performers of our times.

“David Bowie Is” explores the creative processes of David Bowie as a musical innovator and cultural icon, tracing his shifting style and sustained reinvention across five decades. The exhibition also focuses on his collaborative work with artists and designers, and demonstrates how his work has both influenced and been influenced by wider movements in art, design, music, and theater.

The V&A’s Theatre and Performance curators, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh selected more than 300 objects that were brought together for the very first time. They include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs, Bowie’s own instruments and album artwork.

The best-selling exhibition has been on a worldwide tour since its inception at the V&A in 2013, and has travelled to nine venues in countries including Canada, Australia and Brazil. It will open at the TERRADA G1 building in Tokyo, Japan in January 2017 followed by the Museu del Disseny, Barcelona from May 25th.

The V&A has recently announces that it has surpassed 1.5 million visitors to its landmark “David Bowie Is” exhibition, making it the most-visited show in the Museum’s 164-year history.

 The exhibition

The exhibition brings together more than 300 objects, including photography, album artwork, handwritten lyrics, original fashions, set designs, and rare performance material from the past five decades from the David Bowie Archive. “David Bowie Is” takes an in-depth look at how David Bowie’s music and radical individualism has inspired others to challenge convention and pursue freedom of expression.

The main focus is on the diversity of David Bowie’s work and the close interplay of various disciplines and modes of expression. His music and radical individualism were not only influenced by movements in art, fashion, design and contemporary culture, but Bowie left his own mark on them as well.

The exhibition “David Bowie Is” retraces the career of this exceptional artist in great detail – from David Robert Jones’ early years as a young London artist until he became the global superstar Bowie.

On display are more than 60 stage attire including Ziggy Stardust bodysuits (1972) designed by Freddie Buretti; Kansai Yamamoto’s flamboyant creations for the Aladdin Sane tour (1973); and the Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and Alexander McQueen for the Earthling album cover (1997). Also on view is photography by Brian Duffy, Terry O’Neill, and Masayoshi Sukita; album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert and Edward Bell; cover proofs by Barnbrook for the latest album The Next Day (2013); visual excerpts from films and live performances, including The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Saturday Night Live (1979); music videos such as Boys Keep Swinging (1979) and Let’s Dance (1983); and set designs created for the Diamond Dogs tour (1974).

Alongside these are more personal items such as never before-seen storyboards, handwritten set lists and lyrics, as well as some of Bowie’s own sketches, musical scores, and writings, revealing the evolution of his creative ideas.

Exhibition Overview

The exhibition offers insight into Bowie’s early years and his first steps towards musical success. Tracing the creative aspirations of the young David Robert Jones (born 1947 in Brixton, London), it shows how he was inspired by innovations in art, theatre, music, technology and youth culture in Britain in the aftermath of World War II. Pursuing a professional career in music and acting, he officially adopted the stage name ‘David Bowie’ in 1965 and went through a series of self-styled changes from Mod to mime artist and folk singer to R&B musician in anticipation of the shifting nature of his later career.

On display are early photographs, LPs from his musical heroes such as Little Richard, and Bowie’s sketches for stage sets and costumes created for his bands The Kon-rads and The King Bees in the 1960s. This opening section concludes with a focus on Bowie’s first major hit Space Oddity (1969) and the introduction of the fictional character Major Tom, who would be revisited by Bowie in both Ashes to Ashes (1980) and Hallo Spaceboy (1995). Inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the single was released to coincide with the first moon landing and was Bowie’s breakthrough moment, granting him critical and commercial success as an established solo artist.

The exhibition moves on to examine David Bowie’s creative processes from song writing, recording, and producing to designing costumes, stage sets, and album artwork. Working within both established art forms and new artistic movements, this section reveals the scope of his inspirations and cultural references from Surrealism, Brechtian theatre and avant-garde mime to West End musicals, German Expressionism and Japanese Kabuki performance.

On view are some of Bowie’s own musical instruments, footage and photography of recording sessions for Outside (1995) and ‘Hours…’ (1999) as well as handwritten lyrics and word collages inspired by William Burroughs’ ‘cut up’ method of writing that have never previously been publicly displayed.

David Bowie is chronicles his innovative approach to creating albums and touring shows around fictionalized stage personas and narratives. 1972 marked the birth of his most famous creation; Ziggy Stardust, a human manifestation of an alien being. Ziggy’s daringly androgynous and otherworldly appearance has had a powerful and continuous influence on pop culture, signaling a challenge of social traditions and inspiring people to shape their own identities. On display is the original multi-colored suit worn for the pivotal performance of Starman on Top of the Pops in July 1972, as well as outfits designed for stage characters Aladdin Sane and The Thin White Duke. Costumes from The 1980 Floor Show (1973), album cover sleeves for The Man Who Sold the World (1970) and Hunky Dory (1971), alongside press cuttings and fan material, highlight Bowie’s fluid stylistic transformations and his impact on social mobility and gay liberation.

The final section celebrates David Bowie as a pioneering performer both on stage and in film, concentrating on key performances throughout his career. An immersive audio-visual space presents dramatic projections of some of Bowie’s most ambitious music videos including DJ (1979) and The Hearts Filthy Lesson (1995), as well as recently uncovered footage of Bowie performing Jean Genie on Top of the Pops in 1973, and D.A. Pennebaker’s film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: The Motion Picture (1973). A separate screening room shows excerpts and props from Bowie’s feature films such as Labyrinth (1986) and Basquiat (1996). In addition, this gallery traces the evolution of the lavishly produced Diamond Dogs tour (1974), the design of which was inspired by Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis (1927) and George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

The tour combined exuberant choreography and a colossal set design, taking the combination of rock music and theater to new heights. On display are previously unseen storyboards and tour footage for the proposed musical that Bowie would eventually transform into the Diamond Dogs album and touring show. An area has been dedicated to the monochrome theatricality of Bowie’s Berlin period and the creation of the stylish Thin White Duke persona identified with the Station to Station album and tour (1976). It also investigates the series of experimental and pioneering records he produced between 1977 and 1979 whilst living in Germany, known as the Berlin Trilogy. David Bowie is concludes with a room of towering projections of footage from his signature concert tours as well as the costumes that defined them.

The exhibition David Bowie was curated by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Curators: Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, Department of Theater and Performance

Organisers of the exhibition David Bowie in Barcelona are Sold Out and DG Entertainment.

Additional information and tickets are now available at