Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973.

David Bowie is

September 25 – November 29, 2013


Be the first in Canada to take an exciting odyssey through the world of pioneering musician, performer and style icon David Bowie.

This fall, David Bowie is arrives at the AGO for the first North American stop on an unprecedented world tour, direct from a record-breaking run at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Spanning five decades and featuring more than 300 objects from Bowie’s personal archive, this totally immersive multimedia show celebrates the groundbreaking artist’s collaborations in the fields of fashion, sound, theatre, art and film. An audio guide by Sennheiser is part of the experience and is included with admission.

David Bowie is — acclaimed by the New York Times as “united in sound and vision in a way rarely seen in a museum” — is the first international exhibition devoted to the British-born musician and performer. Organized thematically, the show takes visitors on a spectacular and interactive trip through Bowie’s numerous personae and legendary performances, highlighting his artistic influences and his experiments with Surrealism, German Expressionism, Music Hall, mime and Japanese Kabuki performance.

In addition to handwritten set lists, lyrics, diary entries, instruments and sketches, David Bowie is includes more than 50 stage costumes plus music videos, set designs, photographs and excerpts from films and live performances.

Spanning five decades and featuring more than 300 objects from David Bowie’s personal archive, this multisensory experience celebrates the groundbreaking artist’s collaborations in the fields of fashion, sound, theatre, art and film. You will be transported into the experience through a unique audio soundscape that responds to your location in the exhibition. This is not your traditional museum audio guide but a sensory tour that immerses you in the music, videos and interview clips that bring the objects, costumes and art of David Bowie to life.


Pick a time that suits you best

David Bowie is a time-ticketed exhibition. This means you can pick a half-hour time slot that fits your schedule, and you can arrive any time within the half hour. In fact, arriving towards the end of your time slot could mean a shorter wait in line. Plan to spend about an hour and 15 minutes in the exhibition. If you want to beat the crowds, weekday afternoons are a good bet; if you want a buzzy atmosphere, visit us on Wednesday evenings.

Plan how you’ll get here

We’re not going to lie: parking in downtown Toronto can be tricky. To make things a little bit easier we’ve got a map and list of nearby car parks for you to choose from right here. You’ll also find information about cycling, taking the subway and other public transport, so however you want to get here, you can do it quickly, easily and safely. Why not line up your favourite David Bowie tunes for the journey? Stay overnight with great rates and packages from our hotel partner.

Print your ticket before you visit!

The fastest way to get to David Bowie is is to print your ticket in advance. With your ticket in hand, simply walk into the AGO, take the stairs on the left showing your ticket to the guard as you enter. Once past the ticket wickets, take a right, a quick left until you find your way into the Joey & Toby Tanenbaum Sculpture Atrium, at the south end of the Gallery. Follow the signs to the exhibition or ask an AGO staff member if you get lost!

Relax in the line up

Whether you’re a member or not, you will likely spend 10 to 15 minutes in line before boarding the elevator to the exhibition on Level 4. While you wait, test your David Bowie mettle with David Bowie trivia or peruse the AGO’s What’s On brochure to see what else you might want to check out after the exhibition or on a return visit. Once you arrive on the fourth floor your experience begins.

Embrace the audio headset

Some of the best content of the exhibition is delivered through the headset. It works like magic: as you approach the labels that feature a strip of orange, the audio kicks in and you immediately hear the music or become a spectator at a concert or TV show. You don’t need to press any buttons — the headsets do it all for you.

Be a pinball wizard

Most of David Bowie is is organized by theme, not chronologically, so it needn't be a linear experience. If you enter one space and find it's busy, you can move on to another and return to that one later, so long as you complete your tour of the fourth floor before moving up to the fifth.

Pace your visit in the exhibition

The experience will take you at least an hour to complete so make sure you leave yourself enough time to get through the exhibition. Your experience starts off on the fourth floor and finishes on the fifth. Think of the fourth floor like an appetizer for the fifth: plan to spend about 20 minutes on the fourth floor and the rest of the experience on the fifth. The route to the fifth floor is up the staircase and that overlooks Grange Park. There are washrooms and a water fountain on the fifth floor.

Keep exploring

David Bowie said in 1976 that he was “bedazzled by art of the 20th century”— get inspired yourself by checking out the AGO’s collection. We have another 100 galleries of art in which to lose yourself.

Stay fuelled

The journey into the world of David Bowie will satisfy your creative impulses, but what about your appetite? Enjoy a delicious prix fixe lunch or dinner in FRANK Restaurant. Reservations are recommended. Re-energize with an espresso or gelato in one of the most beautiful places in Toronto, Galleria Italia.

Share your David Bowie is experiences at the AGO and find updates on the exhibition with #BowieAGO on Twitter and Instagram.

Exhibition organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

In partnership with

Sound experience by

Generously supported by

Hotel Partner

Government partners


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