First published on 1 Feb 2012. Updated on 13 Feb 2012.
When Janine Barrand first brought AC/DC to Melbourne’s Arts Centre, a likely looking mob was in hot pursuit.
“You could always tell who was coming across the bridge to visit that show!” she reminisces.
That was the summer of 2009/10, when Australia’s biggest rock export handed over posters, costumes, videos and even postcards, for the AC/DC Australia’s Family Jewels exhibition. It then toured Australia, and has now made it to Seattle’s famous rock museum, the Experience Music Project.
Not bad for a concept that was born under that funny-looking Eiffel Tower, just south of the Yarra River. In recent years, free tributes to Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue and Australia’s ‘Rock Chicks’ have all drawn crowds. (Kylie’s collection, hotpants included, attracted 1.2 million people between Australia and the UK.) As Director of Collections, Barrand curated them all. She started with items from Arts Centre’s own huge collection – progressing to dropping in on the artist for a cuppa.
“With Nick Cave, I visited him in Brighton where he lives, to sort of plant the seed… it then took about three years to then bring the collection together,” she tells Time Out.
Barrand has been curating since the 80s, and says opinions have shifted towards rock music.
“Now we have a far greater understanding that we’ve got something worth preserving; and people really want to see it!”
Alongside ballet, Aboriginal art and puppetry, this year’s exhibition schedule will also mark the 40th anniversary of the Sunbury Pop Festival.
“We have quite a significant collection of Sunbury photos, and it sort of set the scene of growth and interest in festivals here,” Barrand explains.
Barrand wasn’t at the 1972 event, but she’s confident about hearing from people who were. “It always happens, that people will come in and will have held on to material, or have stories they want to tell us.”
From March 3, the Arts Centre Melbourne Gallery 1 hosts Singing the World, a collecting of Indigenous paintings, with a soundtrack of the artists’ own voices.
The Arts Centre will mark the 40th anniversary of the Sunbury Pop Festival later this year.
Also coming up: Time in Motion: 50 Years of The Australian Ballet, Jun 9-Sep 23
The Breath of Life (about contemporary forms of puppetry), Nov 3 2012-Mar 2013