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.

Upcoming Exhibitions In Melbourne

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Contemporary art exhibition, Amos Gebhardt, Night Horse at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
27 June–25 July 2020 Amos Gebhardt Night Horse Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Danie Mellor, Danie Mellor at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
1–29 August 2020 Danie Mellor Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Tim Johnson, Tim Johnson at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
5 September–3 October 2020 Tim Johnson Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Caroline Rothwell, Caroline Rothwell at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
10 October–7 November 2020 Caroline Rothwell Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Judy Watson, Judy Watson at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
14 November–12 December 2020 Judy Watson Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

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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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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Melbourne Art Shows to See: The Lowdown Ocula Report Melbourne Art Shows to See: The Lowdown By Carol Que, Melbourne

Melbourne Art Week returns to much fanfare this year, taking place between 30 July and 5 August 2018 with the biennial Melbourne Art Fair holding centre stage after its hiatus in 2016 (2–5 August 2018). Situated across two venues within the Southbank Arts Precinct and presenting 40 new and established galleries from Australia, New Zealand and...

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Ocula Report: Spring 1883 Ocula Report Ocula Report: Spring 1883 By Amelia Winata, Melbourne

The VIP preview of Spring 1883’s 2016 edition was surely a contender for the most exclusive ‘money-can’t-buy’ ticket in town. Prior to the art fair’s opening, interested parties were told that requests for tickets would be denied and that only those who received an invitation would be permitted entry. It...

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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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