The best art exhibitions in Melbourne this month

From blockbuster shows to hidden gems, hands-on events and things to do – here is your hit-list
Escher x nendo NGV 2018
Photograph: Sean Fennessy Installation view of Escher x nendo | Between Two Worlds at NGV International
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Get ready, Melbourne: MC Escher has finally landed at the NGV with an immersive collaboration with Japanese design studio nendo. It's certain to be the exhibition of this summer, and there are a couple of other reasons you need to get to the NGV: Julian Opie has taken over the foyer with a city of skyscrapers, and William Wegman's charming dog portraits have their own exhibitions.

There are also a bunch of other smaller galleries churning out stellar work, while ACCA's next exhibition is certain to be intriguing and appropriately theatrical.

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 art shows

1
Day and Night by M.C. Escher
© The M.C. Escher Company, the Netherlands. All rights reserved.
Art, Drawings

Between Two Worlds | Escher X nendo

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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The National Gallery of Victoria is bringing a world-first exhibition of works by MC Escher to Melbourne this summer.

2
Hito Steyerl 'Factory of the sun' NGV 2018 photo supplied
Hito Steyerl 'Factory of the sun' 2015, Installation view at the 56th Venice Biennale © Hito Steyerl
Art, Film and video

Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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Could dancing save the world? German artist Hito Steyerl uses a montage of dancing figures as symbols of how we live and what we’re turning into, before we experience the complete digitisation of our everyday lives.

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3
The Theatre is Lying at ACCA
Photograph: Ross Turley
Art

The Theatre is Lying at ACCA

icon-location-pin Australian Centre for Contemporary Art - ACCA, Southbank
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Leave behind what you think you know and step into a world of trickery, illusion and conspiracy in this exhibition of brand-new works at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA).

4
Julian Opie NGV 2018
Julian Opie 'Walking in Melbourne 1.' 2018
Art

Julian Opie

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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There aren't many artists in the world with a style as immediately recognisable as Julian Opie. The British sculptor sketches people with the simplest of details – black lines and splashes of colour – capturing the mood and spirit of the world's metropolises. 

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5
Art

William Wegman: Being Human

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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Plenty of people dress up their pets in human clothes and take photographs of them to share with the world. But you wouldn't call those photos art, would you? American artist William Wegman is the exception to that rule.

6
Kindred by Patricia Piccinini
Art, Galleries

Patricia Piccinini + Joy Hester: Through Love...

icon-location-pin TarraWarra Museum of Art, Tarrawarra
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If it weren't for Heide school artist Joy Hester, Patricia Piccinini might never have become an artist at all. She was in her third year of an economics degree at ANU when she took a class that included Hester's work.

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7
Christian Marclay, The Clock, ACMI 2019
Photograph: Ben Westoby, courtesy White Cube, London
Art, Film and video

Christian Marclay: The Clock

icon-location-pin ACMI - Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne
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If you're the type of person who likes to keep checking the time when you're watching a movie, American artist Christian Marclay's The Clock is perfect for you.

8
Art, Galleries

Baldessin/Whiteley: Parallel Visions

icon-location-pin The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne
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George Baldessin and Brett Whiteley were both born in 1939, achieved meteoric success in their respective cities of Melbourne and Sydney, and died tragically young. Yet the similarities don’t stop there.

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9
Frida Kahlo, her photos Bendigo Art Gallery 2018
Frida painting a portrait of her father, by Gisele Freund, 1951. C. Frida Kahlo Museum.
Art, Photography

Frida Kahlo, her photos

icon-location-pin Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo
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Frida Kahlo's paintings are known all around the world, but her photography collection reveals even more about her life, her artistic process and the Mexico where she lived.

10
Art

Lucky?

icon-location-pin Bundoora Homestead Arts Centre, Bundoora
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We all hear that we’re in the lucky country, but did you know the label was coined by historian Donald Horne, in his book of the same name? He says, “Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second rate people who share its luck.”

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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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