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Bowie has left the building

December 10th, 2013

David Bowie is at the AGO kicked off world tour and got visitors dancing

David Bowie is opening night. Photo by Dean Tomlinson/Art Gallery of Ontario.

David Bowie is opening night. Photo by Dean Tomlinson/Art Gallery of Ontario.


This fall David Bowie is, a widely acclaimed exhibition of objects from the pop icon’s personal archive, came to the AGO for an extended run from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. We’re happy to announce that it was a hit with our visitors. Running from Sept. 25, 2013, to Nov. 29, 2013, the exhibition drew 146,471 visitors to the Gallery during its nine-week run, garnering praise from the likes of the Globe and Mail, which called it a “spectacular, bewildering multi-sensory collision” and NOW Magazine, which lauded it as a “multimedia extravaganza”.

To kick things off on the exhibition’s opening day, the AGO encouraged fans to don Bowie-inspired garb and be among the first 200 to experience David Bowie is at the AGO. Glammed-up visitors listened to Bowie tunes spun by a DJ on the street as they lined up at the Gallery’s entrance to receive free admission to the sold-out show.

The AGO also threw an official opening party in Walker Court on Sept. 27, 2013. Guests released their inner Bowie and danced the night away. They also enjoyed after-hours admission to the exhibition, sets from DJs Luis Jacob and Odessa Paloma Parker, GIF tributes to Bowie by Toronto new media artist Lorna Mills and a special one-night-only exhibition of memorabilia, presented by Toronto artist Andrew Zealley and others.

David Bowie is opening night. Photo by Dean Tomlinson/Art Gallery of Ontario.

David Bowie is opening night. Photo by Dean Tomlinson/Art Gallery of Ontario.

The partying didn’t stop after the exhibition’s opening. On Nov. 23, 2013, the AGO lit up again with decked-out guests after hours for the AGO’s Bowie Bash closing gala. More than 425 attendees participated in this festive and fashionable fundraiser that included a gourmet dinner designed by AGO executive chef Jeff Dueck, live musical entertainment and more, all in support of AGO programming.

Just as during its successful run at the V&A, David Bowie is was in high demand in Toronto, and so the Gallery responded. Not only did we expand the visiting hours to accommodate gallery-goers navigating their busy fall calendars, but we also extended the closing date by two days to Nov. 29 to help as many visitors as possible catch a glimpse of the exhibition that everyone had been talking about.

Bringing exhibitions of this calibre to the AGO requires a lot of support, and we would like to recognize our corporate partners Holt Renfrew and RBC; Sennheiser for the incredible sound experience; leadership gifts from La Foundation Emmanuelle Gattuso, the Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin Charitable Foundation and Rob & Cheryl McEwen; our government partner, the Government of Ontario; our hotel partner, Eaton Chelsea; and our media partners, Q107 and NOW Magazine. Thanks to each and all for making David Bowie is and its accompanying programming at the AGO possible and a big success.

Organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and curated by Victoria Broakes and Geoffrey Marsh (the V&A’s curators of theatre and performance), the exhibition’s stop at the AGO was the first on its world tour. It will be on display at the São Paulo Museum of Image and Sound in the new year and at the MCA Chicago next fall.

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