All past exhibitions 

  • 30 Sep 2011 – 04 Mar 2012

    Looking at LookingThe Photographic Gaze

    The act of photographing people involves a process of observation, scrutiny and looking.  At times photographers remain detached and anonymous.  Other times they are complicit, directing their subjects and encouraging specific actions and poses.  Sometimes the gaze is returned, and sometimes it is denied.  The power of the gaze can create complex relationships between the subject, the photographer and the audience.

  • 30 Sep 2011 – 12 Feb 2012

    TjukurrtjanuOrigins of Western Desert Art

    A collaboration between the NGV and Museum Victoria in partnership with Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd

    This important exhibition features 200 of the first paintings produced at Papunya in 1971 to 72 by the founding artists of the Western Desert art movement. These seminal works sparked the genesis of the Papunya Tula movement, now internationally recognised as one of the most important events in Australian art history.

    Tjukurrtjanu includes paintings, shields, spear throwers, stone knives, historical photographs, headbands and body ornaments.

  • 23 Jul 2011 – 05 Feb 2012

    10 ways to look at the past

    10 ways to look at the past features works by ten contemporary Australian artists that demonstrate a fascination with the passing of time. Drawn from the NGV’s permanent collection of contemporary art, the exhibition traces a range of artists’ approaches to the past whether nostalgic, introspective, playful or critical.  Including several new acquisitions, works in the exhibition range from large scale installations, sculptures and video art, to photographs, prints and watercolours. 

  • 18 Jun 2011 – 09 Oct 2011

    Vienna: Art & DesignKlimt, Schiele, Hoffmann, Loos

    Stylish, provocative, rebellious, and unforgettable – the world has seen nothing like Vienna in 1900. A century ago, a group of radical young artists, architects, writers, musicians, designers and thinkers overturned all the rules and created a brave new world. Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos were central to this artistic revolution which transformed Vienna into a dynamic metropolis at the forefront of ground-breaking modernism.

  • 28 May 2011 – 05 Feb 2012

    Kaleidoscope: Art and colour

    Kaleidoscope: Art and colour celebrates the power of colour and the impact it has on our lives, from how we see and experience the world around us, to how we employ colour to express ourselves.

  • 28 May 2011 – 25 Nov 2012

    Art of the Pacific

    The National Gallery of Victoria believes that it is vital to honour the art and culture of the Pacific so that it will be perceived here in Melbourne as one of the world’s great art traditions that continues to develop and is open to change. To that end the NGV opened its first Oceanic gallery at NGV International in December 2003. The Oceanic gallery enabled the NGV to create a Pacific presence on the ground floor but the scale of the permanent gallery did not do justice to the importance of Pacific Islander art or to the NGV’s vision for the Asia Pacific region that embraces Indigenous Australia, the Pacific and Asia. On 28 May 2011, synchronous with the NGV’s 150th anniversary, the Gallery opened to the public a modern permanent space dedicated to art of the Pacific with a special focus on the work of living artists. In this dynamic white cube, art of the Pacific moves out of its darkened cul-de-sac and into a light-filled 21st century space with a 5 metre ceiling.

  • 24 May 2011 – 03 Feb 2013

    Living WaterContemporary Art of the Far Western Desert

    A modern art movement originated at Papunya in 1971, which has since transformed the way we see the land and the history of art in Australia. Almost forty years after the genesis of the Western Desert art movement, its epicentre has dramatically shifted from Papunya in the Northern Territory to the Pintupi homelands of Kintore and Kiwirrkura in the Gibson Desert, and to communities that lie hundreds of kilometres to the south and west in far-flung reaches of South Australia and Western Australia (the Far Western Desert).

  • 16 Jul 2011 – 27 Nov 2011

    This Wondrous LandColonial Art on Paper

    This exhibition will showcase the NGV’s outstanding collection of nineteenth-century Australian works on paper.  Spanning the period from early settlement in the late eighteenth century through to the Federation of Australia in 1901, the exhibition will celebrate the Collection’s great riches while charting the specific development of the graphic arts in the colonies.

  • 16 Apr 2011 – 07 Aug 2011

    Eugene von GuérardNature Revealed

    The exhibition will place von Guérard in the artistic and scientific contexts of the major European art centres in which he studied - Rome, Naples and Düsseldorf – and will explore the dynamic role of each centre to his singular vision of landscape painting and to the way he interpreted the Australian landscape.

  • 02 Apr 2011 – 11 Sep 2011

    Deep Water

    Since the nineteenth century, water and its environs have presented an endlessly fascinating subject for photographers.

  • 31 Mar 2011 – 19 Jun 2011

    Top Arts: VCE 2010

    A major event in the annual school calendar, Top Arts: VCE 2010 again presents outstanding work completed by young student artists as part of their assessment for VCE Art and Studio Arts.

  • 11 Mar 2011 – 27 Nov 2011


    Charting a course between absolute restraint and ostentatious display ManStyle explores the extremes of masculine style and some of the most influential ideas that have pervaded menswear over the past three centuries.

  • 10 Dec 2010 – 10 Apr 2011

    Gustave Moreau and the Eternal Feminine

    ‘Gustave Moreau was nobody’s pupil. With no real ancestors and no possible descendants, he remained a unique figure in contemporary art … His sad and melancholy works breathed a strange magic, an incantatory charm which stirred you to the depths of your being like the sorcery of certain of Baudelaire’s poems, so that you were left amazed and pensive, disconcerted by this art which crossed the frontiers of painting to borrow from the writer’s art its most subtly evocative suggestions, from the enameller’s art its most wonderfully brilliant effects, from the lapidary’s and etcher’s art its most exquisitely delicate touches’. Joris-Karl Huysmans, À Rebours (Against Nature), 1884

  • 03 Dec 2010 – 21 Oct 2012

    The Dr Robert Wilson Collectionof 19th Century Ceramics and Glass

    Dr Robert Wilson is one of the most significant benefactors to the Decorative Arts Department of the National Gallery of Victoria. For many years he has been steadily gifting works from his remarkable collection of 19th century ceramics and glass, including Minton, Worcester, Copeland, Burmantofts, Doulton and Thomas Webb. His passion for Minton, pursued with a singular intensity, might even be said to border on an obsession. Yet if this is the case, it is an obsession with the best aims in mind. He has always selected the best. There are no compromises in this collection; everything is of superb quality and much is highly important for its rarity.

  • 03 Dec 2010 – 27 Feb 2011

    The Naked FaceSelf-portraits

    This unique exhibition reveals how self-portraits have shaped our perceptions of art and the artist’s life. Works are displayed in themes exploring the potential for self-portraits to re-evaluate identity. Drawn entirely from the National Gallery of Victoria’s collection, the exhibition demonstrates its extraordinary range and depth. A rich diversity of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, installations and fashion illustrates one of the most constant subjects in Western art and includes significant cross-cultural examples.

  • 26 Nov 2010 – 27 Feb 2011

    UnnervedThe New Zealand Project

    Unnerved explores a particularly rich, dark vein found in contemporary New Zealand art. The psychological or physical unease underlying many works in the exhibition is addressed with humour, parody and poetic subtlety by artists across generations and mediums.

  • 22 Oct 2010 – 13 Mar 2011

    Luminous Cities

    The great cities of the world are vibrant creative centres in which the built environment is often as inspirational as the activities of its citizens, and, since the nineteenth century photographers have creatively explored the idea of the city.

  • 24 Sep 2010 – 20 Mar 2011

    Stormy WeatherContemporary Landscape Photography

    Stormy Weather charts some contemporary approaches to the landscape through the work of eleven Australian photographers.

  • 11 Sep 2010 – 30 Jan 2011

    Harrell FletcherThe sound we make together (Melbourne)

    The sound we make together (Melbourne) combines three basic elements: an installation of NGV art works selected by the participants, juxtaposed with photographs of those involved taken by Fletcher during his August 2010 residency; presentations and performances featuring the participants and guests (videotaped and presented in the gallery context as a document of the weekend of events); a representation of each participant through reading materials and printed ephemera (newsletters, books, posters) as well as objects or art works that affirm something about each.

  • 12 Nov 2010 – 27 Mar 2011

    Endless PresentRobert Rooney and Conceptual Art

    This exhibition presents a selection of conceptual photographs and artists’ books produced in Melbourne and internationally during the 1960s and 1970s.  The works reveal an interest in ideas or concepts rather than in the physical form of the work.  They also display a fascination with serial-based practice and the everyday – the ‘endless present’ of daily existence.  The exhibition will feature the work of Robert Rooney, Ed Ruscha, Sol LeWitt and others.  It provides an opportunity to view rare and significant conceptual works by key international artists, and to examine the transmission of these works and ideas to Melbourne.

  • 06 Aug 2010 – 24 Oct 2010

    John DavisPresence

    At the time of his death in 1999, Ballarat-born John Davis had established a critically acclaimed reputation as an influential sculptor and installation artist whose practice synthesised material diversity with an idiosyncratic concept of landscape and ecology.
    This exhibition charts Davis’ development as an artist, with particular focus on his interest in found and fragile organic materials, and the powerful evocation of the landscape that is at the core of his work.

  • 06 Aug 2010 – 24 Oct 2010

    Mari FunakiObjects

    Mari Funaki (1950–2010) was one of Australia’s leading contemporary jewellers and metalsmiths. This exhibition presents a range of the artist’s captivating mild steel objects dating from the late 1990s to 2010. It reveals the gradual shift from functional objects towards purely sculptural forms that characterised the evolution of her work throughout this period and her recent transition to large scale sculpture.

  • 24 Jul 2010 – 09 Jan 2011

    Contemporary encounters

    A selection of works from the Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists

    The works acquired through the Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists demonstrate the creative vigour and profound sensibilities of contemporary artists working in Australia today. Reflecting on the often confounding nature of human existence and the complex cultural, artistic, social and political mores of our times, contemporary artists are at the vanguard of current thought and inquiry.

  • 23 Jul 2010 – 23 Jan 2011

    Lace in Fashion

    The definition of lace is a decorative or openwork fabric made up of spaces and worked areas formed by fine threads. Still present in contemporary life from fashion to homewares, lace first originated in sixteenth century Europe. It began with the development of two distinct types of work – needle lace and bobbin lace. These two techniques, relying on fine handwork for the first three centuries, produced some of the most luxurious and coveted forms of textiles ever created.

  • 07 Jul 2010 – 01 May 2011
  • 19 Jun 2010 – 10 Oct 2010

    European MastersStädel Museum, 19th–20th Century

    Part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, this exhibition presents masterpieces from the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, one of the finest collections in Europe. Alongside paintings and sculpture by German artists are works by the greatest French, Belgian, Dutch and Swiss masters of the time.

  • 02 Jun 2010 – 07 Nov 2010

    Light Play

    Light Play presents artworks from across the NGV Collection that investigate the way light affects the world around us.From ancient Egyptian to contemporary works, this interactive exhibition allows children to bend, distort, reflect, and refract to their hearts' content whilst engaging with some of the very basic, everyday principles of physics that are so fundamental within our lives.

  • 28 May 2010 – 23 Jan 2011

    Australian Made:100 Years of Fashion

    From first European settlement the supply of clothing and the way Australian men and women presented themselves in the new colonies was of vital importance. Whether reflecting status and position, or exhibiting new found wealth and flamboyance, the nuanced language of fashion was of particular concern to Australia’s burgeoning and diverse society.

  • 07 May 2010 – 03 Oct 2010

    TimelinesPhotography and Time

    In this exhibition, one aspect of time – the human life – is considered from a photographic perspective. Drawn from the NGV Collection, works by international and Australian photographers provoke our understanding of the medium’s capacity to suggest the concept of time in ways that may be surprising, moving or confronting.

  • 15 Apr 2010 – 29 Aug 2010

    Tea and Zen

    Tea and Zen presents the history of tea in China and Japan, exhibiting works that demonstrate its unique cultural aesthetic. Featured are ceramic, lacquer and bamboo tea utensils alongside Zen paintings and calligraphy, creating a contemplative setting evoking the spirit of the ‘Way of Tea’.