Australia

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 Exhibition | Melbourne
27 June–25 July 2020
Amos Gebhardt

Night Horse

Tolarno Galleries View Exhibition
Amos Gebhardt, Wraith (2019). Archival inkjet pigment print, 159 x 122 cm. Courtesy Tolarno Galleries.
Night Horse
Current Exhibition | Melbourne
3 June–25 July 2020
Group Exhibition

Colour Sense

Arc One Gallery View Exhibition
Exhibition view: Colour Sense, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne (3 June–25 July 2020). Courtesy Arc One Gallery. 
Colour Sense
Upcoming Exhibition | Melbourne
7 July–1 August 2020
Kevin Chin

Social Distance

This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein View Exhibition
Kevin Chin, Green Spaces, (2020). Oil on linen, 113 x 174cm. Courtesy THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein
Social Distance
Upcoming Exhibition | Melbourne
1–29 August 2020
Danie Mellor
Tolarno Galleries View Exhibition
Danie Mellor, Untitled [work in progress detail] (2019). Oil and acrylic on canvas with iridescent pigment and wash. Courtesy Tolarno Galleries. 
Danie Mellor
Upcoming Exhibition | Melbourne
5 September–3 October 2020
Tim Johnson
Tolarno Galleries View Exhibition
Tim Johnson, Thredbo blues singers [detail] (2019). Acrylic on linen, 61 x 91 cm. Courtesy Tolarno Galleries. 
Tim Johnson
Upcoming Exhibition | Melbourne
10 October–7 November 2020
Caroline Rothwell
Tolarno Galleries View Exhibition
Caroline Rothwell, Ballooning Cave (2014). UV stable structural PVC, 250 x 200 cm. Exhibited at Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art Dark Heart 2014. Courtesy Tolarno Galleries. 
Caroline Rothwell
Upcoming Exhibition | Melbourne
14 November–12 December 2020
Judy Watson
Tolarno Galleries View Exhibition
Judy Watson, string over water (alkurrji kingkarri wanami) (2019). Acrylic, graphite, pastel, watercolour pencil on canvas, 261 x 180.5 cm. Exhibited: Water Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art 2019. Courtesy Tolarno Galleries. 
Judy Watson

Current Exhibitions In Melbourne

View All Past Exhibitions (227)
Contemporary art exhibition, Amos Gebhardt, Night Horse at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
27 June–25 July 2020 Amos Gebhardt Night Horse Tolarno GalleriesMelbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Colour Sense at Arc One Gallery, Melbourne
3 June–25 July 2020 Group Exhibition Colour Sense Arc One GalleryMelbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Kevin Chin, Social Distance at This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
7 July–1 August 2020 Kevin Chin Social Distance This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola steinMelbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Danie Mellor, Danie Mellor at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
1–29 August 2020 Danie Mellor Tolarno GalleriesMelbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Tim Johnson, Tim Johnson at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
5 September–3 October 2020 Tim Johnson Tolarno GalleriesMelbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Caroline Rothwell, Caroline Rothwell at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
10 October–7 November 2020 Caroline Rothwell Tolarno GalleriesMelbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Judy Watson, Judy Watson at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
14 November–12 December 2020 Judy Watson Tolarno GalleriesMelbourne

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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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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TarraWarra International 2019: Tracing Tangible Shadows Ocula Report TarraWarra International 2019: Tracing Tangible Shadows By Natalie King, Melbourne

Everyone I encounter along my journey asks: 'Where are you based?' 'On my feet,' I answer. 'Where are your feet based then?' 'Feet are never based,' I say. This haunting voiceover from Hiwa K 's video, Pre-Image (Blind as the Mother Tongue) (2017), follows the artist retracing a journey that he made when he was 25 years old, fleeing Iraq...

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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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