David Bowie is to screen one night only at the Ritz Five next week
On Tuesday, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art will open “David Bowie is,” the career-spanning exhibition originally created by London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. The show’s open-ended title captures the singer’s chameleonic gallery of personae, represented in the exhibition by an array of costumes, concept drawings, and videos. These artifacts show the larger conceptual imagination that has always surrounded Bowie’s music, which itself is highlighted by items from throughout the process, from handwritten lyrics to cover sketches to final recordings.
With Chicago the only U.S. stop for the exhibition, the V&A has created a companion film, David Bowie is, whichwill screen on Tuesday, September 23rd at 7 p.m. at the Ritz Five for one show only. The film is framed as a guided tour of the exhibition by curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, who show off the objects on display while providing context from Bowie’s storied career. Throughout, clips of Bowie live and in videos, talking head reactions from visitors, and comments by the likes of costume designer Kansai Yamamoto and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker are interspersed.
The film lacks the tactile quality of seeing this material in person, while the insistently moving camera never allows the viewer to dwell on particular objects of interest the way that an actual trip to the museum would. On the other hand, it’s not quite a documentary, lacking the full scope and diversity of footage that a more all-encompassing movie would necessitate. Still, it’s as good a compromise as exists for those not quite fanatic enough to make the trek to the Windy City.