Women standing in front of paintings at Bendigo Art Gallery
Photograph: Visit Victoria

Art in Melbourne: when are galleries reopening and what exhibitions can I see?

Not all Melbourne galleries are opening immediately, and all of them will have restrictions in place

Nicola Dowse

Real, actual, in-the-flesh art is allowed again in Victoria! The state government has announced that from 11.59pm on November 8, galleries (as well as museums, cinemas, theatre and other indoor entertainment venues) can reopen, with density limits in place.

But just because they can reopen doesn’t mean they will. We’ve done the work for you though so you can see exactly when Melbourne (and Victoria’s) top galleries are reopening – and exactly what will be showing when you go.

Recommended: the ten NGV artworks every Melburnian should know.

The NGV Australia: Ian Potter Centre will reopen on November 23, with visitors able to enjoy Destiny Deacon retrospective Destiny, Ivan Durrant: Barrier Draw plus Tiwi – the largest ever exhibition of Tiwi art. The NGV International, however, will not reopen until December 19, in line with the opening date for the highly anticipated second NGV Triennial. Expect (free) timed tickets, queue management, limits of how many people can be in each space and lots and lots of hand sanitiser.

Bendigo Art Gallery
Combine your desire for travel and art in one go. Bendigo Art Gallery will reopen on November 12 with Australia's first major survey of contemporary First Nations' designers in Piinpi: Contemporary Indigenous Fashion. Hand sanitiser is available in the foyer and guests will be monitored throughout the gallery to ensure physical distancing. Registration is essential (and free).

Flinders Lane Gallery
You can return to Flinders Lane Gallery from November 4. Guests are required to sign in with a QR code on entry. Visitors will be able to view William Breen's ode to Melbourne's streetscapes in Wet Paint.

ACCA will reopen on Saturday, December 5. As in he Beforetimes, entry will be free (you won't need to pre-book either, though safety measures will be in place). The gallery is reopening with Overlapping Magisteria: the 2020 Macfarlane Commissions (a project supporting contemporary artists in achieving ambitious works).

Gertrude Contemporary
Gertrude Contemporary also kept art alive remotely under lockdown with Hope in the Dark (which could be viewed from both the windows at Gertrude Contemporary and the window vitrine at Gertrude Glasshouse). The gallery reopens from November 26 with Natalie Thomas's Stage Fright – a work that explores the pertinent themes of isolation, fear and economic fragility. 

Tolarno galleries will reopen on November 13. The first exhibition guests will be able to see Memory scars, dreams and gardens by Judy Watson.

The Johnston Collection
The Johnston Collection will be welcoming guests through its doors from December 1. When it reopens, you'll be able to view the collection's Christmas and summer exhibition Jubilation: Diamonds and Pearls, which presents textile works from the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria.


Anna Schwartz Gallery
Anna Schwartz Gallery reopens from November 18 with a brand new first-floor gallery space to boot. That space will be launched with an exhibition of new works by Stephen Bram. You'll also still be able to view Groups + Pairs 2016-2020 by John Nixon (who sadly passed away earlier this year). 

MARS Gallery
MARS Gallery has now reopened and welcomes visitors Tuesday to Saturday. Current exhibitions include Jurrukukini, Maymampi, Jarranga, Muputi, Yirikapaye (Owl, Magpie Goose, Buffalo, Fish, Crocodile), while upcoming shows to look out for include Kenny Pittock's Trying to leaf things better than we found them

Footscray Community Arts Centre
FCAC will open Friday, December 4 after being shut for a whopping 259 days. When it reopens, visitors will be able to see Arising (30 creatives responses to the events of 2020). The Makers Markets are also expected to return for summer.

Heide Museum of Modern Art
Heide will reopen to the public on November 28. Guests will finally be able to see Heide's huge survey of Joy Hester in Joy Hester: Remember Me, Carolyn Eskdale: Memory Horizon as well as a summer festival this January to March and the anticipated opening of Heide's "healing garden".

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