Kylie On Stage Tour

Ever wondered what it takes to send an exhibition on tour? In this behind-the-scenes post, you can get a glimpse of staff from the Performing Arts Collection busily preparing Kylie On Stage for tour.

Gold boots and stiletto heels worn by Kylie Minogue in the On A Night Like This tour packed into their travelling box with custom inserts to prevent movement and damage while travelling.

The Kylie On Stage exhibition wrapped up in January and is now being meticulously prepped and packed for a regional tour to the Mildura Arts Centre, Geelong Gallery, Ararat Regional Art Gallery and La Trobe Regional Gallery in 2017 and 2018. The exhibition allowed visitors to explore the creative processes behind the costumes and production of Kylie Minogue’s concert tours, but for the objects themselves, the show doesn’t end when the exhibition lights go dark. Instead, a team of registrars, curators, conservators and other museum professionals go to work preparing each object for travel to the next exhibition venue.

This lengthy process involves careful photography and documentation to record the condition of each object, creation of handmade supports, and fitting out or building customised boxes to fit complex objects such as headdresses. Exhibition objects risk damage ranging from packing materials and handling through to vibration caused by transport vehicles, so each one is carefully packed with conservation grade materials and dedicated supports to provide the best possible protection. The intricacy of the craftsmanship on many of the Kylie On Stage costumes has inspired clever solutions to protect delicate beading, diamantés and fabrics. Photos of the packing process are then used to guide installation and prevent handling-related damage during unpacking at the next venue.

Fitting custom supports in a box tray to support a headdress.

While all objects are treated with the utmost care, sometimes you can’t avoid having a particular favourite. Some of the team’s favourite items from the packing process include a pair of yellow Dolce & Gabbana stilettos worn in the encore of Kylie’s 2002 KylieFever tour, a kimono-style mini dress worn in Act Five of the X2008 tour, and two pairs of gold shoes worn in the On A Night Like This tour (2000/2001). Shoes and accessories are not always very visible in performance, so being able to see the detail and craftsmanship of smaller items in the collection up close is a particular privilege.

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A standard box which has been fitted out with customised foam and Tyvek supports for a pair of shoes worn by Kylie Minogue in the encore of her 2002 Fever Tour.

Visitors can look forward to getting their own close-up view of these and all the other objects featured in Kylie On Stage when it arrives in Mildura this August. To learn more about the exhibition and regional tour, visit Kylie On Stage or explore the Kylie Minogue Collection online through the Arts Centre Melbourne website.

Left: The textile conservator fits a padded Tyvek belt around the Jean Paul Gaultier bodysuit worn in Act Six of the Kiss Me Once 2015 tour.
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The bodysuit also has a fitted internal support to preserve its shape and prevent crushing of structural decorative elements.
PAC curatorial and collection management staff pack the silver crystal-mesh costume worn by Kylie during Act One of the KylieFever tour in 2002.

Australia’s Family Jewels head to Scotland

The Arts Centre’s successful Icon Exhibition – AC/DC Australia’s Family Jewels, presented in partnership with AC/DC, Albert Music and Sony Music, has just completed its Australian tour and is about to head overseas.

The Australian tour, generously funded by Visions Australia, included the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin and our touring partners the Western Australian Museum in Perth. WA Museum CEO Alec Coles said the exhibition had been a huge success. “The exhibition has attracted more than 80,000 people to WAM, and what has been great has been the diversity of visitors – this is not just an exhibition for fans – although they, of course, love it – it is for anyone interested in contemporary music and musical culture in Australia.”

AC/DC Australia’s Family Jewels has attracted an incredible 415,000 visitors during its Australian display. This fantastic response shows that popular culture exhibitions, celebrating contemporary Australian performers have a real place not only within the Arts Centre’s programming mix but also for museum audiences, especially as they attract a different and perhaps first time visitor.

The exhibition arrived back home to Melbourne yesterday where it will be prepared for the next leg of its journey. We are currently unpacking, photographing, condition reporting, and re-packing the 38 crates of material which includes Angus Young’s early schoolboy outfit and guitar, many of Bon Scott’s letters and his leather jacket. All of the delicate costumes, stage props, photographs, notebooks, early concert posters and lyrics along with heaps of exhibition hardware have to be checked and prepared for a the international tour to Glasgow and another (currently secret!) location.

Our small team in Collections, Research and Exhibitions are really proud to be one of the only Australian cultural organisations touring major exhibitions of Australian content internationally.  Next stop is Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland (17th September 2011 to 12th February 2012), followed by a second soon-to-be-announced destination in the USA.