David Bowie: Among the Mexican Masters - Forest Lawn Museum (Jan. 27 – June 15, 2017)

David Bowie with a foil mask at the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City | Photo © Fernando Aceves 1997
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Celebrating the 2017 cultural exchange between Los Angeles and Mexico City, the Forest Lawn Museum presents David Bowie: Among the Mexican Masters, now on view through June 15, 2017. During the Earthling world tour, Bowie played his first and only show in Mexico City at the Foro Sol on Oct. 23, 1997. The exhibit features more than 40 exclusive images of the legendary performer taken by Fernando Aceves, a celebrated local rock and jazz photographer, during Bowie's Mexico trip. David Bowie: Among the Mexican Masters marks Aceves’ first U.S. museum exhibition and the world launch of this new, traveling exhibition.

Aceves was commissioned to accompany the rock icon on a three-day art and culture tour through Mexico City, documenting at Bowie’s request the musician's visits to cultural landmarks that included the works of muralists Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco, the Frida Kahlo Museum, the pyramids of Teotihuacan, and other historic sites.

A renowned art collector, Bowie intended to write an article for Modern Painters magazine about the sites he visited. Although the article was never published, Aceves' unique archive captures intimate moments between the late musician and the cultural heritage of Mexico during Bowie’s only visit to Mexico City. The Bowie exhibition will also include photographs that tell the history of the cultural sites featured in Aceves' photos, including the National Palace, the Palace of Fine Arts, Teotihuacan, and the Frida Kahlo Museum (aka the Blue House).

David Bowie: Among the Mexican Masters pays homage to the legacy of an artist who transformed the world of music and art, as well as to the down-to-earth man who felt strong admiration and respect for other cultures from around the world,” said Ana Pescador, director of Forest Lawn Museum. “With David Bowie as their tour guide, we are excited to take visitors on an inspirational tour of Mexico City through the eyes of photographer Fernando Aceves, so they too can appreciate all the cultural, artistic and historic treasures the city has to offer.”

David Bowie at the Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan
David Bowie at the Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan | Photo © Fernando Aceves, 2007

The photos convey the many moods of the Thin White Duke, from Bowie posing theatrically with a mask at the Blue House to a shot with his arms outstretched at the foot of the massive Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan.

David Bowie at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City
David Bowie at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City | Photo © Fernando Aceves, 2007

Fans will be especially delighted by photos of Bowie the tourist, holding a guide book and exploring the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts): seated next to fellow visitors in front of Diego Rivera's Man, Controller of the Universe; and a sun-splashed photo beneath the dome that could be any tourist - except it's David Bowie.

David Bowie at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City
David Bowie at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City | Photo © Fernando Aceves, 2007

A standout photo - reportedly Bowie's personal favorite of Aceves' set - shows him pondering Man, Controller of the Universe. Rivera's mural is a recreation of his incomplete original, Man at the Crossroads, which was commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller, who ordered it destroyed because of its political content. The chameleon-like Bowie seems to magically disappear into Rivera's mural.

Aceves recalled that Bowie had done his research and knew exactly what he wanted to see on the visit. “These photographs would be only a reference for him, that was the goal, recording the visit and nothing else.” In a follow-up letter to Aceves, Bowie thanked him for the time they worked together on the photo shoot and provided instructions on the formats for the images to be delivered for his magazine article.

“I think that any photographer’s dream is to encapsulate a special moment or scenario that will offer a narrative to awaken the world’s interest,” said Aceves. “However, this photo assignment was more than capturing the British artist David Bowie contemplating masterpieces - I had the privilege to observe a man expressing great respect and deep admiration for our Mexican culture.”

Dates for an accompanying series of educational lectures focusing on Mexico’s cultural heritage will be announced shortly.

The Forest Lawn Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit www.forestlawn.com.

1712 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale

Named one of the Top 10 Free Museums in the country by Yahoo Travel, the Forest Lawn Museum is housed on the 290-acre site of Forest Lawn Memorial Park–Glendale, a Southern California landmark since 1906. Featuring a stunning array of art, architecture and three beautiful chapels, Forest Lawn Museum is committed to enriching the community through the educational presentation of artwork that focuses on history, culture and religion.

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