NAME: David Bowie, also known as “Ziggy Stardust” or “The Thin White Duke”
YEARS ACTIVE: 1964-present
GENRES: glam rock, pop rock, psychedelic rock, art rock, pop rock, blue-eyed soul, experimental
WHY CAMP: Bowie was, in many ways, the heir, no matter how perverted, of Andy Warhol’s pop art and of the underground culture of the 1960s. He adopted some of the most blaspheme issues and turned them upside down to make them precisely what they had been designed to fight: a commodity.
Bowie embodies the quintessence of artificial art, raises futulity to paradigm, focuses on the phenomenon rather than the content, makes irrelevant the relevant, and, thus, is the epitome of everything that went wrong with rock music.
Each element of his art is the emblem of a true artistic movement; however, the ensemble of those emblems constitutes no more than a puzzle, no matter how intriguing, of symbols, a roll of incoherent images projected against the wall at twice the speed, a dictionary of terms rather than a poem, and, in the best of hypotheses, a documentary of the cultural fads of his era.
Reading the chronicles of his times, it is clear that what caused sensation was the show, not the music. The show that Bowie set up was undoubtedly in sync with the avantgarde, as it fused theater, mime, cinema, visual art, literature and music. However, Bowie merely recycled what had been going on for years in the British underground, in particular what had been popularized by the psychedelic bands of 1967. And he turned it into a commodity: whichever way you look at his oeuvre, this is the real merit of it.