Exhibition open from 31 March – 16 Sept 2023
Kingston Museum’s Bowie And Beyond exhibition will look at the remarkable moment that Ziggy Stardust was launched in Tolworth and the wider music and pop culture scene in the borough.
When David Bowie took to the stage at the Toby Jug pub in February 1972, the 60 or so people in the room had little idea that they were witnessing history. 50 years on, Kingston Museum’s Bowie And Beyond exhibition will look at the remarkable moment that Ziggy Stardust was launched in Tolworth and the wider music and pop culture scene in the borough.
Through a curated collection of music memorabilia sourced from local people, original artworks and interviews with people who were there and people who were inspired (including musicians, artists and authors), Bowie and Beyond looks at the impact Bowie’s alter ego had on art, music and pop fashion. More broadly, the exhibition will reflect on how society in Kingston reflected, and sometimes helped to shape, national and international trends.
The exhibition takes in Kingston’s shifting musical landscape since the 1970s, exploring the loss of historical venues and celebrating those that continue today. It will look at Kingston Polytechnic’s role as music venue and creative hub, cult bands from the area such as Cardiacs and The Trudy, and the scene that sprung up around 90s indie band Dodgy, who settled in Kingston prior to their chart success and established a popular club night.
Bowie and Beyond is part of charity Creative Youth’s music heritage project AMP Kingston and is presented in partnership with The Community Brain and Kingston Museum. Among the artworks will be Guy Portelli’s Circle of Hands, which features handprints of collaborators from throughout Bowie’s career, and album artwork from Bowie’s Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust records provided by original illustrator Terry Pastor. Continuing the legacy into the present day, local young artists supported by Creative Youth will produce artistic responses to the items in the collection and will be displayed alongside them.
Speaking about the exhibition Chair of Creative Youth Robin Hutchinson said
“The launch of Ziggy Stardust is a momentous piece of pop culture history that happened in Tolworth. It reflects the huge amount of creativity and musical talent that can be found in suburban towns. Yet, as this exhibition will explore, 50 years later we are rapidly losing music venues across the borough and you’d be hard pressed to find a Toby Jug equivalent.
This exhibition celebrates the rich vein of musical legacy that runs through Kingston, while also asking where would an artist like Bowie play today?”
In the months leading up to the exhibition, Creative Youth and The Community Brain are continuing to collect items related to the search for items, photographs, mixtapes and memories linked to music in the local area. Anyone with objects they can loan or memories to share is encouraged to email our researcher.
Bowie And Beyond
Art Gallery, Kingston Museum, Wheatfield Way, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2PS
31 March – 16 September 2023