Australia's 'Elvis: Direct from Graceland' exhibition gets a 5-star review in Arts-Hub magazine.
This expansive showcase of the entertainer's evolution in style has an astounding amount of detail. Chronologically and thematically arranged, the Bendigo Art Gallery exhibition allows audiences to access the life of a private man in a pre-digital public arena, when celebrities’ private time could counterbalance the intrusions of their fame. The music filling every room exemplifies distinct career stages. Memphis’s Sun Records, the studio of Elvis’s inaugural recording, is showcased first.
Young Elvis’s Depression-era clothes have a hand-me-down quality which contrasts with the custom-designed suits and stage costumes of later years. Showbiz designer Bill Belew’s ‘riveting contemporary take’ for the ‘68 Comeback Special, signalling Elvis’ return featured clever incorporation of the singer’s ‘cultural roots — the working-class dreamer, the Southern preacher, the youthful rebel’.
... Elvis' exuberant Vegas costumes, over 15 jumpsuits, many with matching capes, allow all-round access. Corners of the capes are flicked over to display the shiny undersides of contrasting colour under the heavy fabric topsides, emulating perhaps what a Vegas audience would have seen as Elvis moved around the stage.
Film footage of opulent furnishings and scenic exteriors further draw the audience into Elvis’s private haven. Activities for kids are masterfully interwoven, as are Elvis’s personal effects: school books, opulent jewellery from later years, guitars, vehicles and ornaments from Graceland such as his bedside gold telephone. Accompanying photographs show the performer in action with these items.