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
Photograph: Tom Ross
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MoMA's NGV takeover continues throughout August, with modern and contemporary masters setting up shop in Melbourne. 

The NGV's provocative Colony: Frontier Wars takes a confronting look at Australia's past while The Field Revisited travels back half a century to a pivotal moment in Australian art. At the same time, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art is exploring contemporary Aboriginal life. And one of the most moving exhibitions you'll see this year is in Bendigo: Another Day in Paradise, which features the work of executed Bali Nine smuggler Myuran Sukumaran, including paintings completed in the hours before his death.

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

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MoMA at NGV 2018 supplied image
Courtesy: MoMA, New York © 2016 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Art, Galleries

MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art

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To put it lightly, this is huge.  In June 2018, Melbourne will become the (temporary) home of masterpieces by Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Vincent van Gogh, Mark Rothko... the list goes on. \

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A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness, ACCA 2018 photo supplied
Photo by Jackson Lee
Art, Galleries

A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness

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Part of the Yalingwa visual arts initiative, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art's new exhibition features new works by ten leading Aboriginal artists about everyday, contemporary Indigenous life.

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Colony: Frontier Wars NGV 2018
William Barak Wurundjeri, 'Figures in possum skin cloaks' 1898
Art, Galleries

Colony: Frontier Wars

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These dual exhibitions show the collision of western and Indigenous art and trace how an Australian artistic expression came to be.Colony: Frontier Wars looks at Indigenous art created in response to colonialism over the last two centuries.

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Another Day in Paradise Myuran Sukumaran 2016 Sydney Festival supplied image Self Portrait by Myuran Sukumaran
Art, Galleries

Myuran Sukumaran: Another Day in Paradise

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This ambitious exhibition, which premiered as part of Sydney Festival 2017, constitutes the first major survey of artworks by the late Myuran Sukumaran – one of the 'Bali Nine' convicted of drug smuggling in 2005.

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Art, Galleries

Baldessin/Whiteley: Parallel Visions

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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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Ronnie van Hout Buxton Contemporary 2018 photo supplied
Ronnie van Hout 'End Doll' 2007, courtesy the artist
Art, Galleries

Ronnie van Hout: No One is Watching You

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Ronnie van Hout has been creating aliens, robots and lonely figures for more than 30 years, confounding and thrilling art fans in equal measure with his uniquely funny brand of existential absurdism. He's best known for creating sculptures that depict himself as a childlike figure, but has created work across video, photography, installation, sculpture and text.

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Art, Design

Blak Design Matters

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Architect Jefa Greenaway curates the first national survey of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design this month at the Koorie Heritage Trust Galleries in Federation Square. 

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Storm Riders ACMI 2018
Photograph: Supplied
Art, Film and video

Storm Riders

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Storm Riders, an immersive, 360-degree virtual reality film is, in part, a re-envisioning of Shaun Gladwell's earlier video artwork Storm Sequence (2000). That work saw him skateboarding down on Bondi Beach – this time he's placed two young Muslim women from London at its heart.

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The Field Revisited NGV 2018 supplied image
Photograph: Supplied
Art, Galleries

The Field Revisited

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On the morning of August 21, 1968, the new St Kilda Road premises of the National Gallery of Victoria opened its doors to the public for the first time. The imposing, brutalist construction, a bluestone monolith in the heart of Melbourne’s Southbank, had taken six years – and $14 million – to complete, and was now the largest art gallery in the country.

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Art, Galleries

Japonisme: Japan and the Birth of Modern Art

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After two centuries of seclusion – and with just one international port open – Japan threw its doors open in 1854, resulting in an influx of Japanese art and culture to Europe. At first, Japanese aesthetics began showing up in western art, but when artists like Degas and Van Gogh started to understand more about the underlying movements and principles, the infleunces started to become more profound. 

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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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