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NGV International

  • Art
  • Southbank
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  1. National Gallery Victoria
    Robert BlackburnEntrance to the National Gallery Victoria
  2. National Gallery Victoria
    Photograph: Robert Blackburn
  3. Installation view of Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossi
    Photograph: NGV/Tom Ross
  4. NGV International 2015 Federation Court courtesy National Gallery of Victoria photographer credit Charlotte Ambrose
    Photographer: Charlotte Ambrose

Time Out says

See blockbuster exhibitions alongside an impressive permanent collection at the National Gallery of Victoria

This grand modernist building on St Kilda Road is Australia's oldest and most popular art museum. That title has been won thanks to the gallery's top-notch and diverse permanent collection, their fantastic visiting collections and an ongoing series of additional events aimed at locals and tourists alike.

The permanent collection includes a Rembrandt, a Bonnard and a Tiepolo – not bad for a gallery that's only been around since the mid 1800s. All visitors to the NGV must pass the water wall upon entry, and yes, it is hard to resist touching it. The ground floor is where you'll usually find the gallery's major exhibitions and it's also where you'll find the magnificent, boiled lolly-like stained glass ceiling in the Great Hall.

Upstairs you've got the permanent collections, as well as the smaller visiting exhibitions. You cannot visit the NGV without spending a hefty chunk of time in the 19th Century Gallery (or Salon Gallery). It gets its nickname from the style the paintings are hung in, and houses one of the most emotive paintings in the gallery: 'Anguish' by August Friedrich Schenck. 

You could easily spend a whole day in the bulding so be sure to make regular pit stops; if you're feeling fancy the Tea Room offers high tea as well as cakes and light meals while downstairs you can fill your belly with the seasonal menu items at Garden Restaurant.

Check out our hit-list of the best galleries in Melbourne.

Written by
Time Out editors


180 St Kilda Rd
Nearby stations: Flinders Street
Opening hours:
Daily 10am-5pm

What’s on

Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse

An exhibition of one of the world's most influential and innovative fashion designers lands in Melbourne this summer. Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse invites visitors to enter the conceptual, encyclopaedic and creative mind of this boundary-pushing fashion designer through more than 100 clothing pieces accompanied by more than 70 historical artworks.  As fashion lovers work their way through the exhibition, they can see McQueen's inner workings at play; besides viewing the final product of his fashion genius, they can explore his reference points and capacity for storytelling through fashion and art via a series of paintings, sculptures, photography, decorative arts and works on paper. It is through this rich and varied collection that viewers are able to further understand his master strokes, and gain a deeper appreciation of his timeless art. The summer blockbuster showcases 50 garments from the NGV's own collection, in addition to some 60 garments on loan from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), making it an Australian exclusive exhibition.  Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse is on display from December 11, 2022 until April 16, 2023 at NGV International. The exhibition will kick off with Melbourne's fanciest annual event, The NGV Gala, held on December 10, 2022. Tickets are on sale now for the exhibition, as well as the NGV Gala. Time Out's 100 Days of Summer calendar is here to help you plan your entire summer in Melbourne.

China: The Past is Present

Get ready to explore themes of spirituality and contemplation, power and prestige, compassion, auspicious symbols, belief and obsession, mythology and the importance of the natural environment when China: The Past is Present opens at the NGV on October 15. Juxtaposing ancient Chinese masterpieces alongside moving works of contemporary art and design, the exhibition highlights the influence of traditional artistic practices in modern Chinese culture, while also revealing some surprising synergies between early artisans and present-day artists that bridge millennia, subject matter and form. Featuring more than 120 works that span an array of art forms – including painting, calligraphy, ceramics, textiles, furniture, photography, mixed media and metal works – this exclusive showcase is the culmination of several years of strategically collecting innovative and critical contemporary work that facilitates dialogue with major historical works already in the NGV collection. Must-see artworks include a photographic sequence by Xiao Lu (who is widely considered to be China’s first feminist performance artist and one of the best-known artists from China’s Avant Garde art movement of the 1980s), as well as an enormous six-metre-long brush and ink landscape painting by Yuan Yao. Also on display are works by members of the first wave of contemporary artists in China, who were granted asylum in Australia at the 1989 Tiananmen protests. China: The Past is Present runs from October 15 to Feb

Freedom of Movement: Contemporary Art and Design from the NGV Collection

  • Galleries

Have you ever seen a series of chairs based on manga-style comic books? A brightly-lit conveyor belt and a computerised scanner to place your objects on? Or even a rock made from hundreds of microphones? Well, look no further than the NGV’s all-encompassing exhibition Freedom of Movement: Contemporary Art and Design from the NGV Collection.  From December 2 to April 10, 2023, Freedom of Movement from the NGV is a free exhibition that offers a dynamic survey of the state collection across contemporary furniture, lighting, painting, film, sculpture and installation.  Discover more than 60 multimedia works of contemporary art and design by some of the most recognisable names working today, including Patricia Piccinini, KAWS, Nick Cave, Shilpa Gupta, Alicja Kwade, Alex Prager to Daniel Arsham.  Crossing culture, disciplines and traditional divides, the works in Freedom of Movement have been braided together from a selection of NGV Collection works to reveal the centrality of movement in contemporary art and design. Presented in four “movements”, each anchored by a major work, the exhibition invites audiences to consider concepts of movement, change, perception and transformation in contemporary life.  Want to take a deeper dive into all the NGV has to offer? Check out the best ten works to see at the NGV that every Melburnian should see.

NGV Friday Nights

  • Exhibitions

One of Melbourne’s favourite evening activities, NGV Friday Nights, is back for another season this summer, bringing with it a smoking line-up of musical acts, food, drinks and groundbreaking art. The 18-week season will run every Friday night from December 16, 2022 to April 14, 2023, and feature some of Melbourne’s most boundary-pushing artists across the disco, glam rock, jazz and soul genres. Three-time Grammy Award nominee and neo-soul superstar Nai Palm will headline on opening night, with Electric Fields, Kee’ahn, Banoffee and Billy Davis also on the program. See the full line-up on the NGV's website. Of course, it wouldn’t be an NGV Friday Night without late-night access to a world-class exhibition, and this season, it’s a big one. Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse gives you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the work of Alexander McQueen (1969 – 2010), showcasing 60 garments and accessories from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) alongside over 50 McQueen designs from the NGV Collection.  What makes this exhibition unique is the addition of more than 70 historical artworks (including paintings, sculptures and photographs) that influenced McQueen’s designs over the years, exclusively curated for this special exhibition.  The Moët Champagne Terrace Bar will be serving tipples all night, or you can treat yourself to a classic G&T or cocktail at the Four Pillars Gin Bar. If you’re more of a wine lover, the Yering Station Wine Bar will be set up in the G

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