Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Melbourne icon-chevron-right The best art exhibitions in Melbourne this month

The best art exhibitions in Melbourne this month

Set off on an art adventure with these exhibitions and events – from major blockbusters to must-see freebies

Architects of Air pop-up Bunjil Place 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
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The NGV's big winter double – bringing together the Terracotta Warriors with Chinese contemporary art superstar Cai Guo-Qiang – is entering its final months, but there's plenty to see across the city's galleries during September. In fact, it might just be our busiest art month this year.

Looking to get out of the gallery? See the best street art in Melbourne. And if you're after something a touch more dramatic, here's our hit-list of the best theatre in Melbourne this month.

Melbourne's best exhibitions in June

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Terracotta
Warriors: Guardians of
Immortality
and Cai Guo
Installation view. Photograph:
Art

Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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Cai Guo-Qiang is best known for unique, large-scale artworks that draw on his cultural heritage. In this exhibition, part of the National Gallery of Victoria's prestigious Winter Masterpieces series, he's presenting all new works.

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Terracotta Warriors NGV 2019
Photograph: Courtesy NGV
Art

Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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The National Gallery of Victoria's latest winter blockbuster was a look back at the last 130 years of modern art, but their major 2019 winter exhibitions are looking a fair bit further back. All the way to the third century BCE.

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3
Random International Rain Room
Photograph: Creative Commons / Alexandermcnabb
Art, Installation

Rain Room

icon-location-pin Jackalope Pavilion, St Kilda
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It’s pretty common to get caught in the rain while walking around Melbourne. What’s less common is to get caught in the rain while walking around indoors in Melbourne – and even weirder when you realise that the rain is inexplicably falling everywhere except on you. This August Melbourne will be the first city in the southern hemisphere to host ‘Rain Room’, an immersive artwork by London-based collective Random International.

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A Fairy Tale in Red Times NGV 2019
Art

A Fairy Tale in Red Times: Works from the White Rabbit Collection

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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White Rabbit, a privately owned four-storey temple to 21st century Chinese art, is a big deal in Sydney. It shows Judith Neilson’s epic and eclectic collection to hordes of Sydneysiders every week, ranging from small-scale works to massive installations. This is the first time the collection is being shown at the NGV, with a selection of 26 artists.

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Finkelstein Gallery Presents 2019 supplied image
Photograph: Supplied
Art

Finkelstein Gallery Presents

icon-location-pin Finkelstein Gallery, Windsor
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Can you name five women artists? No, it's not a trick question, but a lot of us cannot. That question was the starting point of a campaign by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC, back in 2016, designed to highlight just how much of a boys club the art world can be.

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Architects of Air pop-up Bunjil Place 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Art, Sculpture and installations

Katena Luminarium

icon-location-pin Bunjil Place Library, Narre Warren
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From the outside, the spectacular luminaria created by UK company Architects of Air look a little like retro spaceships landed from an alien planet. But if you venture inside the Katena luminarium, which is popping up in Bunjil Place from September 27, you’ll discover no invading super race.

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7
Art

Kaws: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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Even if you don't know his name, you're almost certainly familiar with Brian Donnelly's (aka Kaws) larger-than-life sculptures and paintings. Kaws take icons from cartoons and pop culture and reimagines them in vulnerable and unexpected situations.

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Art, Galleries

Archibald Prize

icon-location-pin TarraWarra Museum of Art, Tarrawarra
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We mightn't all be art critics, but everyone has an opinion about who and what is most deserving of the $100,000 top gong at the Archibald Prize. The annual exhibition of finalists (this year there are 51 paintings) offers plenty to argue over, featuring faces familiar and not, by big name, mid-career and emerging painters.

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Haroon Mirza Pavilion for Optimisation supplied 2019 ACCA
Photograph: Bettina Matthiessen
Art

Haroon Mirza: The Construction of an Act

icon-location-pin Australian Centre for Contemporary Art - ACCA, Southbank
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There's a good chance you don't know Haroon Mirza's name just yet, but the London-based artist is making a huge impression overseas with his artworks, which combine installation, electricity and a frequently startling use of sound.

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Liu Bolin, 'In the Woods'
Photograph: Liu Bolin, courtesy of The Ballarat International Foto Biennale
Art, Galleries

Ballarat International Foto Biennale

icon-location-pin Around Ballarat, Ballarat
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The Ballarat International Foto Biennale brings exhibitions, workshops, screenings, portfolio reviews, discussions and social events to the historic Gold Rush town of Ballarat once more. Over two months the town will host 30 exhibitions, 70 open programs, outdoor public art and special screenings.

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Looking to get outside the gallery?

Croft Alley, Melbourne Street Art 2017, Photo credit: Graham Denholm
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Art, Street art

Where to find the best street art in Melbourne

Sure, street art covers almost every nook and cranny of our creative, colourful city, but there are more highly concentrated clusters than others. These are the street art hotspots that any self-respecting 'grammer should be snapping: the city's ten best street mural hotspots, in all their spray-painted laneway glory. 

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