Melbourne Art Guide

Melbourne is the capital of Victoria, and is widely regarded as the cultural hub of Australia. It is a city rich in both contemporary and historical architecture, situated on the Yarra River.

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Hosting a population of nearly 5 million, the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Index rated Melbourne as the world's most liveable city for seven years in a row, from 2011 through 2017, based on the city's investment in infrastructure, healthcare, and education. Traditional owners of the land identify as the Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) peoples of the Kulin Nation.

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is one of the country's major institutions and includes the NGV International and NGV Australia. In 2017 the NGV launched the inaugural NGV Triennial, featuring the work of more than 100 artists and designers from 32 countries.

In close proximity to the NGV is the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA). Founded in 1983, ACCA is one of the country's most established non-collecting art spaces and is housed in a building spectacularly designed by Wood Marsh Architecture. A hop, skip, and a jump away is Buxton Contemporary, launched in 2018 with a major gift from the art collector Michael Buxton to the University of Melbourne, where the institution is located. Also nearby is a slew of engaging and diverse spaces such as the Australia Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne Museum, Koorie Heritage Trust, Centre for Contemporary Photography, and Artbank.

Gertrude Contemporary can be found in Preston South. Recently moved from its original Gertrude Street location in Fitzroy, Gertrude Contemporary was founded in 1985 and has a contemporary art exhibition programme alongside a studio programme, with critical attention given to independent practices. Further out from the city centre is the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen. Established in 1934, today it houses one of Australia's most established collections of modernist works alongside a growing contemporary collection and sculpture garden.

Key commercial art spaces in Melbourne include Station Gallery, Anna Schwartz Gallery, ARC ONE Gallery, Neon Parc, Tolarno Galleries, Sarah Scout Presents, Niagara Galleries, and THIS IS NO FANTASY + dianne tanzer gallery. The next iteration of Melbourne Art Fair (MAF) will be in 2020.

Significant independent and artist-run spaces include Bus Projects, SEVENTH Gallery, BLINDSIDE, and Blak Dot Gallery, the latter of which presents a rigorous programme that prioritises the voices, politics, and material practices of indigenous artists.

Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) is housed at Monash University's Caulfield Campus and presents an engaging programme of contemporary art exhibitions. Bundoora Homestead Art Centre is another critical space housing an excellent exhibition programme outside of the city centre in a heritage-listed building.

Major festivals and other temporary staged programmes include MPavilion, an annual architectural commission located in the Queen Victoria Gardens. Each year in spring and summer the architectural structure is activated through a range of programmes from across popular and cultural discourse. This year the commission is undertaken by Glen Murcutt AO, and past iterations have included Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten of OMA, Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai, and Amanda Levete of AL_A.

The other major festival of note in Melbourne is Next Wave Festival, which provides a critical platform for emerging artists, producers, and curators in Australia to develop their work and ideas for display and dissemination in public space.

Current Exhibitions In Melbourne

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Contemporary art exhibition, Juan Ford, The Beast and the Bestiary at This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
22 September–22 October 2020 Juan Ford The Beast and the Bestiary This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, MelbourneMelbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Caroline Rothwell, Caroline Rothwell at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
10 October–7 November 2020 Caroline Rothwell Tolarno Galleries, MelbourneMelbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Judy Watson, Judy Watson at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
14 November–12 December 2020 Judy Watson Tolarno Galleries, MelbourneMelbourne

Ocula Member Galleries In Melbourne

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Contemporary Institutions In Melbourne

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Melbourne In Ocula Magazine

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McClelland Announces Prize Winners for Small Sculpture Contest Ocula News McClelland Announces Prize Winners for Small Sculpture Contest Melbourne, 3 August 2020

Four Australian artists were chosen for outstanding works under 50cm, about the size of a house pet.

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Over 10,000 Visitors Flock to Melbourne Art Fair Viewing Rooms Ocula News Over 10,000 Visitors Flock to Melbourne Art Fair Viewing Rooms Melbourne, 10 June 2020

The online event was organised after the physical fair was postponed until 2021.

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Melbourne’s Art Scene: Nine Online Programmes Ocula Report Melbourne’s Art Scene: Nine Online Programmes By Tessa Moldan, Melbourne

With Melbourne Art Fair's Viewing Rooms being launched with Ocula between 1 and 7 June 2020, this lowdown provides of further online programmes to connect with the city's scene.

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Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds By Emma-Kate Wilson, Melbourne

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson 's artworks. Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The...

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Recent Events In Melbourne

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Contemporary art exhibition, Spring 1883 - Melbourne at Ocula Private Sales & Advisory, London
17–21 August 2016 Spring 1883 - Melbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Spring 1883 at Ocula Private Sales & Advisory, London
13–17 August 2014 Spring 1883


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