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The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia

  • Art
  • Melbourne
The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia at Federation Square 2015 exterior photographer credit Brooke Holm
Photograph: Brooke Holm The Ian Potter Centre (NGV Australia) at Federation Square

Time Out Says

The Ian Potter Centre houses NGV's extensive collection of Australian artwork, ranging from the Colonial period through to contemporary art. Galleries feature photography, prints and drawings, fashion and textiles, decorative arts, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Don’t miss Charles Blackman’s Alice, Heidelberg School artists and an impressive Indigenous art collection.

Check out our hit-list of the best galleries in Melbourne.


Federation Square
Nearby stations: Flinders Street
Opening hours:
Daily 10am-5pm

What's On

Big Weather

The weather has long been the go-to topic, especially in Melbourne (talk about four seasons in one day, am I right?). The weather is more than just small talk, however – it is intrinsically linked to the climate and the environment.  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. The exhibition is laid out by theme, with one room representing fire, one representing water and flooding, one representing air and wind, and so on. Curator Hannah Presley created the exhibition during last summer's devastating bushfires (remember those?), and it was originally slated to open in March 2020 as a direct response to the fires. But Presley says the themes of the show are just as relevant now.  "This conversation is actually timeless," she says. "We've all had this quiet time, and we're thinking about things a little differently. We want to feel grounded and safe, and that is part of how Indigenous people feel connected to country." Presley wants visitors to the exhibition to think differently about the weather and about climate change, learning from the Traditional Owners of the land and the

Found and Gathered: Rosalie Gascoigne | Lorraine Connelly-Northey

  • Installation

The saying goes that one man's trash is another man's treasure. When it comes to art, one man's trash is another man's – or in this case, woman's – artistic medium of choice.  This November, the NGV's Ian Potter Centre (aka NGV Australia) will reopen with Found and Gathered: Rosalie Gascoigne | Lorraine Connelly-Northey, an exhibition pairing two assemblage artists known for their work with found objects – objects that have been discarded or otherwise don't exist expressly to create art.  Both Gascoigne and Connelly-Northey are leaders in the field of found object art, though their approaches differ. The New Zealand-born, Canberra-based Gascoigne would collect discarded objects that many people would simply view as rubbish – think soft-drink cases, salvaged timber and road signs – and turn them into highly sculptural works reminiscent of textiles. She was the first female artist to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale (in 1982) and is best known for her works such as 'Flash art' – a collage of old road signs assembled into a quilt-like formation.   Connelly-Northey is a Victorian-based artist who grew up on Wamba Wamba lands in Swan Hill. The artist's Irish and Waradgerie heritage is reflected in her works, which combine found objects associated with colonialism and its subsequent industrialisation of the landscape (e.g. fencing wire, corrugated iron) with organic materials found in nature (such as feathers and shells). Using these objects, Connelly-Northey creates scul

Maree Clarke: Ancestral Memories

Now showing at the NGV's Ian Potter Centre is Maree Clarke: Ancestral Memories, the first major retrospective of Melbourne-based Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba/Mutti Mutti/Boonwurrung artist and designer Maree Clarke. The exhibition, which runs until February 6 2022, shows more than three decades worth of work from Clarke that spans photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewellery, video and more. Clarke is the first living artist to exhibit at the NGV to have ancestral connections to the land the gallery is built on, and the artist is seen as something of a leader in the reclamation of Aboriginal art and cultural practices in the south-east of Australia. Much of Clarke's practice is about this reclamation and affirmation of this heritage, as imagined through contemporary art. A stunning example of this is 'Ancestral Memory I & II', large eel traps blown from glass and suspended like solid water from the ceiling. Another key work in the exhibition is a 60-pelt possum skin cloak specially commissioned by the NGV for the exhibition. Along with other First Nations artists Vicki Couzens, Lee Darroch and Treahna Hamm, Clarke has worked to revive this traditional skill, and their cloaks are the first to be made in Victoria for more than 150 years. Guests will also be able to view Clarke's striking photography series 'Ritual and Ceremony', which saw her photograph prominent Aboriginal community figures such as Uncle Jack Charles and Caroline Martin. Entry to Maree Clarke: Ancestral Memories

New Australian Printmaking

New Australian Printmaking takes four of Australia's top contemporary artists – Patricia Piccinini, Megan Cope, Shaun Gladwell and Tim Maguire – and thrusts each creative into the world of printmaking.  The exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre (NGV Australia) features 68 prints created in the last four years as part of the Australian Print Workshop Artist Fellowship program. Piccinini, Cope, Gladwell and Maguire are already renowned for their work in other mediums, but the fellowship aimed to expand their practice into printmaking. That is, the works extend on the themes the artists are known for, but as prints. For instance, New Australian Printmaking features two colour print series from Piccinini that showcase the artist's penchant for exploring nature, humanity and the uncanny. Gladwell's prints on the other hand continue his examination of street culture, as well as also featuring the artist's well-known skull imagery. Maguire's prints are an extension of his recent body of work, 'Dice Abstracts', while Cope has created two massive lithograph prints that showcase colonial-era geographic maps overlaid with Indigenous place names. New Australian Printmaking opens May 13 and is free.

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