The Periodic Table of David Bowie: A Visualization of the Seminal Artist’s Influence and Influences

Mick Jag­ger …

Dada poet Tris­tan Tzara

Chair­man Mao…

What do these 20th-cen­tu­ry icons have in com­mon?

Cor­rect! They’re also all ele­ments on artist Paul Robert­son’s Peri­od­ic Table of Bowie.

The late musi­cian David Bowie was a skin-shed­ding chameleon, and a remark­ably sta­ble iso­tope. His cre­ative influ­ences were var­ied.

Robert­son’s table debuted in 2013 as part of the Vic­to­ria & Albert David Bowie is exhi­bi­tion, three years before rock­’s sem­i­nal Star­man exit­ed the plan­et. Fol­low­ing a 12-city tour, it’s tak­ing its final bow at the Brook­lyn Muse­um.

“I’m not an idiot,” the artist con­fid­ed in an inter­view. “I know that peo­ple are most­ly inter­est­ed in it because it’s David Bowie. But I think it’s still a valid art­work.”

In addi­tion to posi­tion­ing such influ­ences as col­lab­o­ra­tor John Lennon, film­mak­er Stan­ley Kubrick, and for­mer room­mate Iggy Pop as atom­ic num­bers, Robert­son’s table allows for artists who came after.

“Fly My Pret­ties Fly (Thank You. We’ll Take It From Here)” includes Lady Gaga, Pulp front­man Jarvis Cock­er, and fel­low dandy, Mor­ris­sey, while Bowie’s 90s-era cos­tumer, design­er Alexan­der McQueen and artist Jeff Koons hold down “His­to­ry Is a Choice the Future Decides Upon.”

Fit­ting­ly, author Oscar Wilde appears in the Hydro­gen slot.

Buy a print of the Peri­od­ic Table of Bowie here.

Explore David Bowie is in per­son at the Brook­lyn Muse­um through July 15.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The David Bowie Book Club Gets Launched by His Son: Read One of Bowie’s 100 Favorite Books Every Month

Dave: The Best Trib­ute to David Bowie That You’re Going to See

In 1999, David Bowie Pre­dicts the Good and Bad of the Inter­net

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on March 20 for the sec­ond install­ment of Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain at The Tank. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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  • Tom! says:

    Seems like the link to buy a copy of the Peri­od­ic Table isn’t work­ing. Could you guys fix it? Thanks!

    I saw the David Bowie Is… exhib­it at the Brook­lyn Muse­um on Sat­ur­day — INCREDIBLE!! Almost too much to take in, the exhib­it is huge! But it’s an amaz­ing ret­ro­spec­tive. It’s real­ly awful that we lost him when we did — he was bril­liant & I’m sure he had a lot more to share.

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