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A realistic sculpture of a person  wearing jeans and a elbow length blue shirt. On their shoulders they are gently carrying a long-limbed fleshy creature.
Photograph: Eugene Hyland

The best art exhibitions in Melbourne this month

Discover Melbourne's best art exhibitions and events happening this month

Nicola Dowse
Written by
Nicola Dowse
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After many, many weeks in lockdown, Melbourne's art galleries will be able to reopen again from early November. And with their reopening comes plenty of exhibitions – some of which are brand spanking new, and that will finally get their time in the spotlight after being postponed. 

For art outside, discover (or rediscover) Melbourne's best street art and best public artworks

Melbourne's best exhibitions in November

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Ballarat

Open now to regional Victorians, reopens to Melburnians once 80 per cent vaccination target is met (approx. Nov 1-2)

One of Victoria's biggest goldfields towns becomes a hub of art this spring as the Ballarat International Foto Biennale returns. The biennale features 260 artists who will take over 100 venues during the 60-day exhibition. There will also be 25 Australian exclusive exhibitions running as part of the biennale, as well as a world premiere, outdoor exhibitions, projection art, events and food and drink experiences.

  • Art
  • Paintings
  • Geelong

Opens November 6

To mark the glorious centenary of the Archibald Prize (Australia's most famous art prize), the Art Gallery of NSW is hitting the road and heading to Geelong Gallery with blockbuster exhibition Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize. Tracing the changing face of the nation by presenting some of the most memorable portraits from across the years, the thematic show also delves into the backroom drama, warts and all.

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  • Art
  • Melbourne

The NGV is expected to reopen sometime after Victoria hits its 80 per cent double vaccination target (approx. Nov 1-2)

Big Weather explores Australia's weather – and specifically the knowledge, stories and perspectives on the weather as told by First Nations artists. The exhibition showcases works from Indigenous artists that are related to the weather, including representations of ancestral rain, hail and storm spirits; works exploring climate change-induced extreme weather events; and the place of animals and how they're affected by the environment and weather.

  • Art
  • Digital and interactive
  • South Wharf

Bookings available for November 5 onwards

Melbourne's cutting edge digital art gallery, the Lume, is finally opening this spring with an immersive exhibition on Vincent van Gogh. The Lume's van Gogh experience will reimagine the now-famous painter's works as projections that completely ensconce you, allowing you to feel like you're in van Gogh's bedroom or under that famous starry night. A mirrored infinity room filled with countless sunflowers also features, as does a life-size recreation of painting 'Bedroom in Arles'.

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  • Art
  • St Kilda

The Jewish Museum of Australia is expected to reopen sometime after Victoria hits its 80 per cent double vaccination target (approx. Nov 1-2)

There have been many exhibitions on Mora, but none quite like this. The Jewish Museum of Australia's Mirka is the most extensive survey of Mirka Mora ever. The museum has turned into an “immersive Mirka-world” for the exhibition, which features never-before-exhibited works from the Mora family and Mirka’s studio archives. Alongside these works, Mirka tells the artist’s story through her sketchbooks, letters, diaries and audio recordings from the Jewish Holocaust Centre’s archives.

  • Art
  • Carlton North

Opens November 29

As you read this, there are currently around 1,500 asylum seekers currently detained in detention centres in Australia. Naser Moradi, a Hazara man from Afghanistan is just one of them, and is currently detained in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation centre. Moradi is also a self-taught artist – and you can see his works for yourself in his exhibition, The World Next Door. Presented at the Mercy Hub in Carlton, The World Next Door shares Moradi's works, which commonly explore hope and acceptance.

 

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  • Art
  • Installation
  • Melbourne

Bookings available from November 8

Everyone in Melbourne has heard of the mysterious Flinders Street Station Ballroom, but few have seen it. The once grand hall has hosted lectures, a library, fitness classes and (of course) dances, but has been closed to the public since 1985. But it's been revitalised, with leading contemporary artist and Melbourne local Patricia Piccinini turning the near-mythic space into an immersive, hyperreal installation. A Miracle Constantly Repeated has Piccinini transform the enigmatic ballroom into an uncanny art ecosystem filled with large-scale dioramas, huge foliage, sentient saplings and nurturing marine mammals. 

Looking to get outside the gallery?

  • Art
  • Street art

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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