Get us in your inbox


NGV International

  • Art
  • Southbank
  • price 0 of 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. Be warned the large, colonial era rooms are easy to lose people in, so keep a close eye on any children looking to make a jailbreak. 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.

Nicola Dowse
Written by
Nicola Dowse


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

What's On

Bark Ladies: Eleven Artists from Yirrkala

  • Paintings

Visitors to the NGV might notice something beautiful, almost interstellar, has transformed Federation Court (aka the gallery foyer). Between the ticket desks and the Great Hall is a monochromatic painting that covers the entire floor, with splodgy white rivers undulating over a stark, black background marked with more, seemingly endless white dots and flecks.  Look up and you'll see the whole work is reflected in a giant mirror, giving the impression of a starry night sky. And it's meant to – this is 'Riŋgitjmi gapu', or the 'river of Heaven and Earth', a work by Yolŋu artist Naminapu Maymuru-White showing as part of Bark Ladies: Eleven Artists from Yirrkala. This free exhibition puts the spotlight on artists featured in the NGV's significant collection of bark paintings and ḻarrakitj (hollow wooden poles that have been painted) from women artists associated with the Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre, located roughly 700km east of Darwin. Yolŋu women have taken to the art-form relatively recently – women did not paint sacred themes on bark or ḻarrakitj prior to 1970. Myles Russell-Cook, the NGV's senior curator for Indigenous art, says the artform had long been considered men's business, which resulted in the creation of more experimental and daring paintings when women in the community took up the brush. "Part of that comes from the relative freedom that women had by (when painting on bark) not being quite as connected to this long, inherited visual language." "There are incredible


  • Installation

Victoria, you've heard of pink lakes and pink cliffs, but this might be Melbourne's first pink pond. This December, the NGV unveils a pink pond in the Grollo Equiset Garden (the gallery's sculpture garden). The blushing body of water, titled 'Pond[er]' is the work of the winner of the NGV's 2021 Architecture Commission, and is designed and produced by architecture firm Taylor Knights and artist James Carey.  Unsurprisingly, the pond is inspired by Australia's pink salt lakes but also draws from the original architectural designs for the NGV International. In addition to the large, pink pool of water, 'Pond[er]' also features beds of native Victorian wildflowers that will bloom at varying stages throughout the installation's tenure. It's sustainable too, with the installation's materials to be sourced or made locally and to then be distributed to Landcare, Indigenous and community groups for further use following deinstallation.  NGV director, Tony Ellwood, said "Through an elegant interplay of architectural and landscape elements, this work draws our attention to the challenges facing Australia’s many catchments and river systems, whilst also ensuring that the design itself has minimal environmental impact by considering the future lifecycle of the materials used." If you're anything like us, you're probably thinking "can I jump in the pond?". The answer to that is yes, yes you can. Once installed, visitors to 'Pond[er]' will be able to walk along a series of walkways and acc

Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto

  • Design

An exhibition of one of the world's most influential fashion designers will land in Melbourne this summer. Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto is the first exhibition in Australia to solely focus on the fashion contributions of 20th-century French designer Gabrielle (AKA Coco) Chanel.   The exhibition is coming to the NGV in partnership with Paris's leading fashion museum, the Palais Galliera, which launched this significant exhibition in autumn 2020. Melbourne will be the first city outside of France to host the exhibit, with the gallery presenting more than 100 Chanel garments from the Palais Galliera, Patrimoine de Chanel (Chanel's archives), as well as from additional public and private collections. Dr Miranda Wallace, senior curator of internation exhibition projects at the NGV, says that Chanel's works have stood the test of time from the designer's earliest days, right through until now. "The brand development was extraordinary in those early years. She became such a big name very quickly, because she was doing something quite different." Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto presents Chanel's work across a series of thematic and chronological sections (beginning as early as 1916), exploring her enduring influence on fashion, as well as in perfume, jewellery and accessory design. The exhibition space draws on Chanel's use of line, as well as the palette that she was known for – the space has plenty of crisp blacks with accents of ivory, red and gold. The NGV's version us

NGV Summer Nights

One of the best things about summer is the long sunny days and the clear balmy nights. And in Melbourne, so many of the city's institutions make the most of the mild evenings and stay open late to give everyone a good time. This January the NGV is staying open until 9pm Monday to Thursday for NGV Summer Nights. The event uses all four levels of the NGV international to host after-hours DJ sets, film screenings, bars and dining experiences, in addition to giving locals and tourists a few extra hours each day to check out the current exhibitions (such as Bark Ladies: Eleven Artists from Yirrkala and Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto).  During NGV Summer Nights you'll be able to catch a film screening underneath the gallery's famous stained glass ceiling, with the Great Hall being turned into a pop-up cinema playing French-inspired movies such as Ratatouille, Midnight in Paris and Amélie. A number of bars will be installed in the sculpture garden, including offerings from Yering Station and Four Pillars Gin.  DJs will keep the good vibes flowing with sets in the waterwall forecourt from the likes of Rainbow Chan, RONA and MzRizk. You can also catch live sets on Friday nights thanks to the NGV Friday Nights program, which has lined up artists like Banoffee, James Tom, Edd Fisher and Renee Delay to perform during January. Or rock up from midday on Sundays for NGV Summer Sundays for an afternoon of music from Tanzer, Small Fry, Cliftonia, and Pjenné. NGV Summer Nights is on every

NGV Friday Nights

Few things go hand-in-hand like music and art, and after enduring several months of not being able to enjoy either, the NGV has announced the return of its beloved NGV Friday Nights series.  This time around, the program will celebrate upcoming summer gallery showings including the highly anticipated Coco Chanel exhibition and a collection of works by Yolngu women artists from an Indigenous-run arts centre in Yirrkla.  Performing in the NGV's Great Hall every Friday night from December to mid-April, this season's line-up features DJ sets from the likes of  Edd Fisher, Andras, Banoffee, Afrodisiac, River Yarra and heaps more. See the full line-up on the NGV's website.  To tie in with the exhibition, each night will also feature French food and drink inspired by the Chanel exhibition. Grab a glass of vino from the Yering Station wine bar or a flute of Champagne by Pommery and snack on oysters and other French dining options.  Nothing says summer like a refreshing and zesty Gin and Tonic, so be sure to check out the garden and try some bespoke cocktails from the Four Pillars Gin Bar. While you're there, you can also experience the David Jones Vault which opens once each Friday evening to reveal surprise giveaways for visitors to enjoy on the night.  Bookings are required, and all guests must present proof of vaccination, as well as provide their contact details for contact tracing purposes. NGV Friday Nights runs from December 10 to April 22, and for further information and to p


The NGV will celebrate the stories and perspectives of our queer communities in a landmark new exhibition set to open in 2022. Queer is the most comprehensive Australian survey of art relating to queer themes to date, with more than 300 works pulled from the NGV collection to be exhibited across five galleries at the NGV International.  Works on show will reflect the many ways the word "queer" can be used, from a representation of gender and sexuality to a philosophy and political movement. Naturally, you can expect works who identify as queer, but also works from artists who were not able to do so safely in their own time. There will also be works that aren't from artists who aren't part of the queer community, but whose works relate to queer histories.  Some of the exhibitions stand out works include 'The Metropolitan' by fashion and performance great Leigh Bowery; 'St Sebastian at the Tree' by renowned German renaissance painter and printmaker Albrecht Dürer; 'The Kiss' by Peter Behrens; 'Where's Mickey?' by Destiny Deacon; and 'The Letter' by Agnes Goodsir.  Historically, the voices and stories of those who are queer have been sanitised if not outright ignored. Queer will make a point to highlight this – while the exhibition will not present a full history of queer art, it will reflect on the gaps in the history it does present.  Queer opens at the NGV International on March 10, 2022.

You may also like