Half a century after the release of David Bowie's sixth studio album "Aladdin Sane," the Southbank Centre will host an exhibition in honor of the iconic work. The show, which opens on April 6th at the Royal Festival Hall, will feature artwork from the album, including the renowned lightning bolt portrait, and will be open to visitors for two months.
The Legacy of the Lightning Bolt Portrait
The exhibition is curated by Chris Duffy, son of photographer Brian Duffy, who worked with Bowie to create the iconic lightning bolt portrait. Duffy said via The Independent, "It's important to remember it was the result of a short studio shoot using film, which then had to be sent out for commercial processing.
There were no instant digital images or photoshop then. It's extraordinary how it's lasted and been endlessly reworked. Wherever I go in the world, it's always somewhere on a T-shirt." Duffy, who referred to his father's image of Bowie as the "Mona Lisa of Pop," added that the exhibition will explore Bowie's continued self-discovery and the impact it had on his fans.
On April 21st, a group of artists, including Anna Calvi, Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters, Tawiah, Roxanne Tataei, and Lynksizvesti, will perform songs from the album to pay tribute to the late singer.
Celebrating Bowie's Enduring Legacy
Southbank Centre's Artistic Director, Mark Ball, said of the exhibition: "The Aladdin Sane album cover portrait is considered to be one of the most influential pop culture images of the past half-century, and the music remains fresh and contemporary, so we wanted to recognize this major anniversary and reflect on the album and its artwork's enduring legacy." Ball added that the gender fluidity of the images still resonates deeply in queer culture in the UK and across the world, and that Bowie's work continues to inspire contemporary artists.
The 50th anniversary of "Aladdin Sane" will also be marked by a reissue of the album, which will be released on April 14th as an LP mastered at half-speed and a picture disc printed from the same master. "Aladdin Sane: 50 Years" is a fitting tribute to one of the most influential works in popular culture, and a celebration of the enduring legacy of the late, great David Bowie.