Get us in your inbox

Search
A man and a woman looking at paintings in the NGV's salon room
Photograph: Supplied

The best art galleries in Melbourne

Take in blockbuster exhibitions, local shows and state-of-the-art installations at Melbourne's best galleries

Nicola Dowse
Written by
Time Out editors
&
Nicola Dowse
Advertising

There's a stereotype that Melburnians love art. And we can confirm that it's absolutely true. You can find incredible art galleries in every corner of our city. Sure, the CBD and inner suburbs might have the big hitters, but broaden your horizons and you'll find there's great art to be found in the suburbs too. 

Great news: you can also find art on Melbourne's streets.

Melbourne's must-visit art galleries

  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Southbank

What is it: The NGV is an imposing Brutalist building where Melbourne's biggest blockbuster art exhibitions are held. The gallery is also home to a phenomenal permanent collection that includes a Rembrandt, a Dali, a Bonnard and a Tiepolo. Not to mention the spectacular stained glass ceiling by Leonard French or the Water Wall at the gallery entrance.

Good forGetting better acquainted with art, no matter your age or experience. Exhibitions present art in engaging, accessible ways and there are many family-friendly events and activities as well. There are also regular events for adults.

Advertising
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art - ACCA
  • Art
  • Southbank

What is it: ACCA is a high profile not-for-profit gallery – one of the most recognisable buildings in Melbourne thanks to its red-rust facade – showcases local and international artists across all mediums. 

Good for: Pushing the boundaries of what you think art is. 

  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Bulleen

What is it: This torch bearer for Australian modernism is comprised of three core buildings – Heide I, II and III – as well as extensive gardens and a sculpture park. It's also filled with history, as it was the former home of cultural patrons John and Sunday Reed (and often housed their artist friends like Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester and Albert Tucker.). Outside, the sculpture garden is also a highlight.

Good for: Heide is great for discovering more about the modernist period in Australia as well as some of the most exciting contemporary artists. And for having a picnic in the gardens after viewing the galleries.

Advertising
  • Art
  • Footscray

What is it: FCAC has well and truly earned its stripes as an institution – not just in Footscray, but Melbourne-wide. The Centre is a hub for cultural expression, contemporary arts and community involvement and been kicking around since 1974. It caters to everyone, from the curious to the established artist, and has a day program for people with disabilities to get involved in artistic experiences.

Good for: Celebrating the thriving and diverse arts scene in Melbourne's western suburbs. As well as exhibitions, the site also hosts performances and workshops.

  • Art
  • St Kilda

What is it: Linden New Art is a unique not-for-profit contemporary art gallery located in the heart of St Kilda. It's a fun and exciting gallery that showcases work from some of the upcoming names in Australian art. 

Good forNabbing yourself a pint-sized work from an Australian artist – the annual Linden Postcard Show is a hoot, presenting postcard-sized works from hundreds artists.

Advertising
  • Art
  • Windsor

What is it: Since moving from Port Melbourne to a purpose-built, state-of-the-art (ha) gallery in Windsor, MARS (Melbourne Art Rooms) has continued to be one of the city's most versatile spaces for local and international artists.

Good for: This commercial gallery represents some of the brightest names in contemporary art. Visit MARS if you want to purchase work from the cream of the crop. The general public is welcome to explore the works as well.

Anna Schwartz Gallery
  • Art
  • Melbourne

What is it: The imposing Anna Schwartz opened her Flinders Lane gallery in 1986. She has represented some of the country's most respected contemporary artists.

Good for: Experiencing the absolute cutting edge of contemporary Australian art.

Advertising
  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Southbank

What is it: Located on the corner opposite the NGV and Melbourne Theatre Company's Southbank Theatre, Buxton Contemporary is the home of Melbourne property developer and collector Michael Buxton's art collection. The gallery is part of University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts.

Good for: Learning about contemporary Australasian art, and especially moving image and video art – Buxton has the largest outdoor screen in Australia.

Centre for Contemporary Photography
  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Fitzroy

What is it: Set up in the mid-80s as a not-for-profit exhibition and resource centre, the CCP still holds photography courses for beginners and those wanting to further their skills. See a range of works from emerging and established photographers.

Good for: The name says it all, this gallery is great for those with a keen interest in photography.

Advertising
  • Art
  • West Melbourne

What is it: Not technically a gallery per se, but rather Blender is an artists' collective and the undeniable bricks and mortar home of street art in Melbourne. The space provides residencies to more than 20 artists and regularly hosts exhibitions.

Good for: Support Melbourne's street art scene – you can buy works from Blenders artists, plus book in for a street art tour or join a stencil workshop.

Advertising
  • Museums
  • Melbourne

What is it: The Koorie Heritage Trust celebrates Indigenous art and culture of the south-eastern region of Australia with three gallery spaces. Works in the collection are a combination of acquired and commissioned works, gathered since the early 1980s.

Good for: Learning more about Koorie culture through art and exhibitions.

  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Brunswick

What is it: This art gallery in Brunswick is run by artists, for artists. Its group shows often feature upwards of 40 to 50 artists and are known to draw crowds of nearly 1,500 visitors.

Good for: Providing early career artists a platform and means to exhibit. For the public, a trip to Honey Bones means you might just discover the next big thing before everyone else.

Advertising
Monash Gallery of Art
  • Art
  • Wheelers Hill

What is it: Set in a building designed by Harry Seidler, the MGA is an artwork in itself. Surrounded by a sculpture park, it is home to a nationally significant collection of Australian photography.

Good for: Monash is again a great gallery for those interested in photography, with the added benefit of having a beautiful sculpture garden, cute shop and a café.

RMIT Gallery
  • Art
  • Melbourne

What is it: This public art and design gallery features regularly changing exhibitions that explore interesting aspects of Australian and international visual culture.

Good for: Exploring art as inspired by research from RMIT. If you're a student studying art, the gallery often presents shows drawing from that experience.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising