Beginning Oct. 11, the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles will display George Harrison: Living in the Material World, the first major museum retrospective of the late musician's life and career. The exhibit corresponds with two other projects of the same name: a Martin Scorsese-directed documentary, which HBO will run in two parts Oct. 5-6, and a book from Harrison's widow, Olivia, out Sept. 27. Harrison also is the subject of a new Rolling Stone cover story.
Scorsese and Olivia Harrison uncovered so much during the five-year process of making the documentary that "it seemed a shame not to share that," she says. "There was just too much material that Marty didn't use — ephemera, letters. It lent itself to a pictorial arc of George's life."
Grammy Museum executive director Bob Santelli says the exhibit will illustrate the complexity of the late Beatle from both professional and personal perspectives.
"This was a man who was intensely spiritual," Santelli says. "But as kind and gentle as he was with gardening and the natural world, he was ferociously competitive with Formula One race cars. There's this wide cross-section of George Harrison surprises that we put in the exhibit for people to see up close and personal."
Many of the artifacts have not left Friar Park, Harrison's home in Henley-on-Thames, England, since he died from lung cancer in November 2001 at 58. The exhibit will feature the guitars he played on Beatles and solo recordings (including his Gretsch Duo Jet), as well as stage costumes (suits worn at Shea Stadium and the Concert for Bangladesh), handwritten lyrics to unheard songs, photographs, letters and journals.
"Most interesting are his journals, particularly as a youngster," Santelli says. "We found evidence of all kinds of very sophisticated ideas as to what this band called The Beatles might look like, in terms of their outfits and the guitars that he would play. And we're talking about 1960, '61, '62 — well before the advent of Beatlemania."
The Grammy Museum will host Living in the Material World (free with museum admission) through the Grammy Awards on Feb. 12, after which the exhibit will travel.
"We are finalizing the cities, but it will tour a few places in the States and then spend some time in Europe, including London," Santelli says.
Harrison expects the exhibit to offer fans a more complete picture of her husband of 23 years.
"With the book and the movie, it tells a story," she says. "I think you'll know more about what he was thinking and feeling while he was being quiet — which wasn't a lot of the time, to be honest. It's really the inner journey. His outward persona was music, but he was a really deep-feeling, thinking person. Maybe that's why people perceived him as being quiet, because he was very introspective."Last Updated: 09/04/11 11:04