Dada poet Tristan Tzara …
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.
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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.
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.