Around two million people have visited the touring exhibition “David Bowie Is”, on show now at the Brooklyn Museum (until 15 July). The blockbuster exhibition was masterminded by Geoffrey Marsh, the director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) theater and performing arts department.
He has organized several other major “immersive” exhibitions, harnessing state-of-the-art audio and visuals to tell narratives in new ways, such as “You Say You Want A Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970” (2016-17) and “Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains” (2017).
Marsh joins our host Charlotte Burns in London to talk about combing through Bowie’s collection to tell the story of how this music legend evolved.
He also talks about how new technologies—specifically augmented reality—are about to change the ways in which exhibitions are curated and experienced, as well as the role of the museum itself.
Marsh also discusses his dream exhibition: “a show so powerful that probably 10% of people would walk out because they hated it. For the other 90%, it would have had a very profound effect. I know it’s possible,” he says. Most people can remember seeing their first dinosaur skeleton in museums, he says “so there’s something hardwired into us about profound visual experiences which, in a weird way, I think we may have lost in museums and galleries.” That sense of curiosity and wonder is something Marsh is working to bring back as we enter what he calls a “golden age of museums being able to engage with completely new publics in different ways”.