Rembrandt, Monet ... and Minogue
IT IS the home to Rembrandt's A Man in Armour as well as work by Monet and other Impressionists. But Glasgow's renowned Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is now pursuing a different kind of cultural icon - the pop singer Kylie Minogue and her extensive costume collection.
Negotiations are under way to display 300 outfits worn by Minogue during her career at the museum next year.
Supporters say that embracing popular culture is a way of attracting more people, but one former director of Glasgow Museums criticised the idea, saying the collection was "not exactly intellectually stimulating".
Minogue has donated her entire costume collection to a museum in Melbourne and it has been a huge hit since it went on tour in Australia. It includes outfits designed by many of the biggest names in fashion, such as John Galliano and Dolce & Gabbana, who designed nine costumes for her 2002 "Fever" tour, and has been seen in Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney.
Highlights include the white muslin dress by designer Jenny Bannister seen in the I Should Be So Lucky video and a pink and silver showgirl outfit from the "Intimate and Live" tour.
The famous "50p" gold hot pants worn by the singer in the Spinning Around video are in the collection, as is the outfit from her role as the green fairy "Absinthe" in Moulin Rouge.
Kelvingrove is due to reopen this summer after a three-year, 27.9 million refurbishment,
but Glasgow City Council says the Minogue exhibition will definitely not feature this year.
Although talks have taken place with the singer's management in Australia, the council said it would not comment until a contract had been signed.
Julian Spalding, a former director of Glasgow Museums, criticised the exhibition idea. "It's not exactly intellectually stimulating or profoundly relevant to modern life," he said. "It sets a very populist agenda.
"If they had done a show on changing fashion in pop stars clothes, that could throw up a lot of interest and be thought- provoking. The problem with these shows is they don't stir your brain cells at all."
But Stuart MacDonald, director of the Lighthouse, Scotland's centre for architecture and design, said he looked forward to seeing the outfits. "It's got lots of haute couture from big fashion houses. It should be of great interest to Glaswegians and people from elsewhere," he said.
Bridget McConnell, Glasgow's culture and leisure chief, is to host a major conference next week on how to boost audiences for arts events.
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