Often heralded as the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne offers a surplus of artistic expression with a multitude of galleries, festivals and events taking place throughout its calendar annually. With all kinds of galleries from government and public to privately run, along with countless underground studios and spaces, one often has to look hard to see the treasures that are hidden down side roads or tucked away through small doors in the laneways. It is impossible to go to Melbourne and not see a striking work of art in one form or another, whether it be the various outdoor sculptures, the stunning architecture, or the abundance of urban, street and graffiti art for which the city has become famous. Proud of this reputation, art programs often take over the city, such as the ‘Transporting Art’ project which is celebrating it’s 35th year, acting as just one way in which the public is integrated with the Melbourne art scene. Voted as the world’s most liveable city 2015, it is not hard to see why travelers flock to Melbourne in order to get a taste of this chic, relaxed, diverse and truly breathtakingly beautiful city.
National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC +61 (03) 8620 2222
Located in a vast converted warehouse in the bohemian suburb of Fitzroy, Gertrude Contemporary was opened in 1985 and is centred around not only the presentation and exhibiting of contemporary art but the creation of it as well. Focusing on newly commissioned works and initially involved in Australian contemporary art, in recent years the gallery has included a diverse range of international works which are displayed across its three gallery spaces. The gallery has an impressive catalogue of renowned artists, and holds regularly changing exhibitions and impressive educational programs. The spacious front room allows for a fantastic flow of natural light and enhanced viewing for the public.
On the fringes of Melbourne’s CBD, the buzz of student city living is reflected in and around Storey Hall, which houses the RMIT’s art gallery. Much of the building has been refurbished with an artistic flair, but the gallery can be found through the original sandstone entrance up bluestone steps. Throughout the university gallery there is a focus on public art and design, with a number of programmes and publications running alongside the exhibitions to compliment them. Recently the gallery took part in White Night Melbourne with their ‘Animating Laneways’ project which focused on making art and culture accessible to the wider public by familiarising it with public spaces. Adding a splash of colour to Melbourne’s laneways by day, RMIT transformed them by night using stop-animation. Following the theme of bringing art in Melbourne to the public, this is RMIT’s second trip down the laneways attributing to street art, arguably the biggest artistic movement of the past two decades.
The ACCA acts as one of the prime contemporary art spaces in Melbourne, providing inspirational up and coming artists with generous spaces in which to express their inventive and daring concepts. Works from the range of artists vary from installations of sound and sculpture to Jaqueline Donachie’s ‘Melbourne Slow Down’ project, in which cyclists strapped bottles full of chalk to their bicycles and rode towards the ACCA from the outskirts of the city of Melbourne. Fun, yet thought provoking ideas such as this are evidence of the ACCA as an institution that offers the public a very fresh look on recent contemporary artistic practices in an exciting way. Whether you have an interest in contemporary art or simply want to appreciate Wood Marsh’s architecture, a visit to the ACCA is a must with always something new to see in their ever changing collection.
The Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP) provides a detailed background and history for the spectator, allowing for an educational and enjoyable experience of contemporary photography. Opened in 1986, the not-for-profit organisation consists of five spaces in which they showcase the most current and up-to-date photography of the time, including Australian and International works from both new and established artists. Upon entering the centre, galleries one and two flow seamlessly into a larger third gallery space, which is then followed by a fourth more intimate room. You are confronted with a range of techniques and processes, and the creative atmosphere allows for a comprehensible dialogue between onlooker and oeuvre. The fifth exhibition space is the ‘Night Projection Window’, a night time window space, enabling for an external peek at the chosen artist’s work which is viewable seven nights a week. Couple this with the number of photography courses and lectures, and the CCP puts itself at the forefront of contemporary art practice, making it a great place to go for those new to photography or veterans of the practice.
Opened in 2000, the highly esteemed and respected Nellie Castan Gallery is directed by Nellie Castan, a well-known figure in the Melbourne art scene due to his professionalism and experience of three decades. Interested in not only new contemporary artists but those who are established to a certain degree, past exhibitions displayed a very diverse and wonderfully experimental group of works. The first of two gallery spaces (Gallery I) is a spacious area in which solo exhibitions can breathe, whilst the second gallery space (Gallery II) allows new talent to show their works along with other Australian and International up and coming contemporary artists.