This blockbuster exhibit was originally developed by the Victoria and Albert Museum and has criscrossed the globe since its London debut in 2013. For the Chicago installation, VHA worked closely with the MCA and original exhibit designer 59 Productions to adapt the show to the MCA's distinctive fourth floor gallery spaces.
Conceived as a non-traditional and non-linear story of Bowie's life, work, and influence, the exhibition utilizes numerous bespoke audio and visual setpieces to tell the the artist's story in unusual and unexpected ways. For the Chicago installation, our challenge was to adapt the exhibition to long, linear gallery spaces while re-using the original pieces. Working closely with the MCA curatorial team, parts of the show were rearranged to better fit the spaces and create a clearer narrative for the visitor.
The installation utilized the MCA's linear, barrel vaulted galleries as a clear organizational structure for the show's 300+ objects, and to create dramatic sightlines within the long spaces.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the exhibition "earns a gold star as the most technologically advanced audiovisual exhibit in memory. As you move through the show’s 25 different display zones, your headphones immerse you in a dynamic soundscape of music and interviews corresponding to the eye-popping visuals in your immediate vicinity."
The show culminated with a celebration of Bowie's performances, with a complex display of video and sound evoking the concert experience.
Exhibition Concept: The Victoria and Albert Museum
Original Installation Design: 59 Productions and Real Studios
Lighting Design: Lux Populi