David Robert Jones

"David Bowie Is" MCA Chicago Exhibit

"David Bowie Is" MCA Chicago Exhibit

The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art’s “David Bowie Is” exhibit proves to be as colorful as its subject. The exhibit is curated from over 400 items from David Bowie’s extensive collection of artifacts from his career, originally organized by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. A quote on the museum wall explains Bowie’s standards and intentions with his music videos, as well as each of his artistic endeavors: “It has to be three-dimensional. I’m not content just writing songs.” The exhibit succeeds in presenting Bowie’s collection as a three-dimensional, larger-than-life display that honors the artist himself. 

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Bowie by Simon Critchley

Bowie by Simon Critchley

Simon Critchley’s Bowie is not a biography. It is not a memoir (“The unity of one’s life consists in the coherence of the story one can tell about oneself … It’s the lie that stands behind the idea of the memoir” (15)). No, Bowie is a book about Simon Critchley via Bowie’s music and personae; Bowie is a book about David Bowie and his music via Simon Critchley’s child- and adulthood minds (and hearts). Yes, plural. For identity, as Critchley writes, is not some “grand narrative unity.” Rather, paraphrasing Hume, it ”is made up of disconnected bundles of perceptions that lie around like so much dirty laundry in the rooms of our memory” (16). I am thrilled Critchley decided to pick up some of his own and move it around, re-curate (recreate) the amassed piles, and allow us to walk through those pungent rooms with him.

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