The Marilyn Monroe we didn’t know: Bendigo exhibition has surprises in store

Her first name is all we need. We know who Marilyn is — or we think we do. Half a century after her untimely death, her image is as potent and ubiquitous as ever. So is there anything new to learn about Marilyn Monroe?

Bendigo Art Gallery has a major exhibition opening in March that is devoted to her. And its discoveries come not as sweeping revelations or reversals, but in the surprise of small details and unexpected insights.

There are, as you would expect, images and film clips, musical numbers, newsreel footage, archival material, posters and publicity items. There are costumes from her movies, striking, spectacular garments that have become familiar in their own right. There are also pieces from her personal wardrobe, garments that represented another facet of the self she wished to project.