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From Marilyn Monroe to Billie Eilish – London’s Hit Exhibition Comes to Budapest

MTI-Hungary Today 2024.05.23.

Hungary’s international cultural position is demonstrated by the fact that the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London is bringing its highly successful exhibition Divas & Icons to Budapest for the first time, which the House of Music Hungary has complemented with stories and objects of Hungarian artists.

The temporary exhibition will run until September 15, covering almost 1,000 square meters, showcasing the history, social roles, and iconic objects of divas from the past two hundred years.

“The adoration of billions meets the history of divas. The exhibition offers a glimpse not only backstage, but also into the souls of the divas.

One of the main criteria of the selection was to present influential personalities who have changed the history of art, and who have also been the leaders of women’s destinies and roles in society,”

emphasized András Batta, Executive Director of the House of Music Hungary and co-curator of the exhibition at the opening ceremony.

Through original costumes, posters, audio and video recordings, the story of the divas is told, as well as that of some of the male performers who were deeply influenced by the world of the divas.

Kate Bailey, curator of the London exhibition, stressed:

The traveling exhibition will feature 70 famous divas from the early 19th century to the present day in two parts over 12 scenes.

Starting in the 19th century, the exhibition places the creation of the diva in a historical context and portrays the goddesses of stage and screen: the first opera divas, the early prima donnas, the dancers – Josephine Baker, Gabriella Lakatos – or the personal stories of Hollywood divas – Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Zsa Zsa Gabor – and through them the changes in femininity and the struggles for women’s rights.

American singer, songwriter Prince’s self-designed performance shoes. Photo via MTI/Szigetváry Zsolt

The second part celebrates the modern diva from six different perspectives. Revolutionary performers are shown, who through their art, voices, and identities, are changing and evolving society. The exhibition includes iconic sets by Tina Turner, P!nk, and Cher, iconic sets designed by star designer Bob Mackie, as well as the outfits of Billie Eilish, Rihanna, Adele, Björk, Whitney Houston, and many others, familiar from concerts, awards shows, music videos, album covers, and famous photographs.

Hungarian opera singer and actress Hanna Honthy’s costume. Photo via MTI/Szigetváry Zsolt

The exhibition delves into the lives of the world stars featured, but also explores the diva scene through them and

how the social perception of female performers has changed over the last 150 years, how the equality movements have been launched, and how the role of women in the performing arts has evolved along the way.

The Divas & Icons exhibition includes Edith Piaf’s 1980 performance dress with her shoes and bag, Tina Turner’s famous ‘flame dress’, Cher’s shimmering sheer gown from 1974, designed by Bob Mackie, Prince’s heeled performance shoes, Whitney Houston’s Marc Bouwer dress for the Grammys, P!nk’s stage costume, Rihanna’s dress with more than 200,000 Swarovski crystals, Billie Eilish’s colorful T-shirt and shorts, Éva Marton’s Elisabeth of Valois costume from Verdi’s opera Don Carlos, and Bori Péterfy’s programmable LED-striped stage costume.

Focus on Iconic Foreign and Hungarian Divas in a New Exhibition from May
Focus on Iconic Foreign and Hungarian Divas in a New Exhibition from May

The Divas & Icons traveling exhibition showcases the extraordinary power, social role, and creativity of divas.Continue reading

Via MTI; Featured image via MTI/Szigetváry Zsolt

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