All past exhibitions 

  • 03 Nov 2012 – 19 May 2013

    Ballet & Fashion

    Ballet & Fashion is a joint project between The Australian Ballet and the NGV that showcases some of the most successful collaborations between fashion designers and dance companies over the past three decades. Designing for dance is a remarkably different process than creating for the runway. By embracing the tradition of the tutu or expanding a company’s repertoire with challenging styles, materials and forms, designers have reshaped the look of dance and ballet for the contemporary stage.

  • 18 Oct 2012 – 01 Apr 2013

    RALLY: Contemporary Indonesian ArtJompet Kuswidananto & Eko Nugroho

    Jompet Kuswidananto and Eko Nugroho are members of the art community that centres on the vibrant central Java city of Yogyakarta in Indonesia. Jompet is an installation artist, while Nugroho works across diverse media; creating paintings, murals and handmade comic books, contemporary updates of the tradition of shadow puppet theatre, and collaborations with local craftspeople to produce embroideries. As a pairing, they shine light on the effervescent contemporary Indonesian art scene and present a wide-ranging, yet precise snapshot of this world.

  • 17 Oct 2012 – 28 Oct 2012


    Since 2010, Sierra's global art project has traversed the world, commissioning the construction of giant letters from materials of local importance, and then publicly – and dramatically – destroying them. Having built and torn down structures in cities around the world, the project now comes to Melbourne for the destruction of the tenth and final letter.

  • 05 Oct 2012 – 03 Mar 2013

    ConfoundingContemporary Photography

    Photography has the uncanny ability to make the strange, uncomfortable and awkward seem plausible, to suggest a confounding alternative reality. The photographers in this exhibition use found objects in macabre still lives, propose perplexing narratives using models and dolls, employ a variety of techniques to create disturbing portraits and construct a fantastic reality based on art, science and imagination.

  • 05 Oct 2012 – 31 Dec 2013

    Asian art

    Visit our newly refurbished Asian art galleries dedicated to displaying the art and culture of Chinese, Japanese and South and Southeast Asia.

    Thanks to the support of the Felton Bequest, The Art Foundation of Victoria, the Supporters of Asian Art and many generous donors, the NGV’s Asian Art collection has grown to be one of the most revered collections in Australia.

  • 14 Sep 2012 – 18 Nov 2012

    ExperimentaSpeak to Me Screening Program

    Experimenta Speak to Me, 5th International Biennial of Media Art considers what it means, at this time, to be together. How do we consider our new relationships to the world, technology and each other? What does this connectedness offer us?

    At the NGV, My voice would reach you by Japanese artist Meiro Koizumi will screen daily (excluding Tuesdays) until 17 November 2012.

  • 07 Dec 2012 – 17 Feb 2013

    TEES: Exposing Melbourne’s T-shirt cultureNGV Studio

    Eddie Zammit is something of a T-shirt hunter. He owns well over 4,000 of them. ‘I have enough tees to wear one a day for over a decade’, he proudly announces. A collaboration between Just Another, NGV Studio and T-world, TEES: Exposing Melbourne’s T-shirt culture examines and dissects the city’s passion for cotton through Zammit’s eyes. Featuring photography by Nicole Reed, TEES includes visual content on Melbourne’s influential artists, brands and designers. Visitors will also see some classic local tees and prominent Melbourne T-shirt souvenirs. Zammit has dug deep into his T-shirt collection to uncover influential items that demonstrate the power of the city’s T-shirt past.

  • 28 Sep 2012 – 24 Feb 2013

    Negotiating this worldContemporary Australian Art

    This exhibition brings together a selection of contemporary art from the NGV Collection acquired through the Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists. Reflecting the breadth of artistic practice in Australia over the past decade, Negotiating this world: Contemporary Australian Art  includes more than 100 works by contemporary artists of diverse cultural backgrounds and practices.

    The exhibition will coincide with the 10 year anniversary of the opening of The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.

  • 31 Aug 2012 – 28 Jan 2013

    The Four HorsemenApocalypse, Death and Disaster

    The Four Horsemen presents images of death and disaster in prints, illuminated manuscripts, illustrated books and paintings from the fifteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. This was a period of great turmoil in Europe, during which bitter religious conflict, war, famine and pestilence generated deep anxiety. Dramatic events and natural disasters were increasingly read as divine punishments or warnings that the Last Days were imminent.

  • 02 Jun 2012 – 07 Oct 2012

    NapoleonRevolution to Empire

    Open 10am-5pm daily, until 9pm Wednesdays

    Napoleon: Revolution to Empire is a panoramic exhibition examining French art, culture and life from the 1770s to the 1820s. Its story runs from the first French voyages of discovery to Australia during the reign of Louis XV to the end of Napoleon’s transforming leadership as first Emperor of France. Book now at

  • 20 Apr 2012 – 26 Aug 2012

    UNEXPECTED PLEASURESThe Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery

    A Design Museum, London touring exhibition

    Unexpected Pleasures looks at what we mean by jewellery from a number of different perspectives.  Taking as its starting point the radical experiments of the Contemporary Jewellery Movement that challenged a conventional understanding of the language of personal adornment, and looking instead at the essential meanings of jewellery, the exhibition brings together important work from around the world, and looks at it from the point of view of the wearer as well as the maker. Contemporary  Jewellery in this sense is at the intersection of art and design.

    Curated by Dr. Susan Cohn for the Design Museum, London with exhibition design by Ab Rogers Design and graphics by Barnbrook.

  • 07 Apr 2012 – 05 Aug 2012

    Fred WilliamsInfinite Horizons

    A National Gallery of Australia Exhibition

    Fred Williams pioneered a new vision of the Australian landscape, and became one of the most important Australian artists of the twentieth century. This exhibition highlights Williams’ strength as a painter including important oil paintings and luminous gouaches to reveal his distinctive approach. He sought inspiration from the unique landscapes of places such Upwey in Victoria, Tasmania’s Bass Strait and the arid Pilbara region of Western Australia, drawing on the abstract qualities of the distant horizons of this vast country.

  • 31 Mar 2012 – 03 Feb 2013

    An Excellent Adventure

    An Excellent Adventure invites children on a journey inspired by a time when sailing ships explored the seven seas. Climb aboard with our two intrepid young adventurers and along the way discover treasures, stories, myths and legends. Peek into the wonderful cabinets of curiosities to examine the intricacies of the ushabti figures from Egypt, ancient stories recorded on artworks from the Mediterranean and Asian symbols found throughout the NGV collection. Through hands on and multimedia experiences, children aged 0 - 8 and their families can journey together to explore the world through art. Excellent!

  • 23 Mar 2012 – 16 Sep 2012

    Light Works

    The sun’s light is an elemental force of nature without which our planet would not exist. Light is also fundamental for the creation of photographs, indeed some of the first photographs were named ‘calotype’ meaning a ‘beautiful impression’ created by light. Light, and its absence, it still a source of inspiration for many contemporary photographers. In this exhibition drawn from the NGV Collection, artists including Mike and Doug Starn, David Stephenson, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Bill Henson, use the emotive potential and scientific capacities of light in their creative explorations of the world. Works included range from photograms (camera-less images); large scale installations and digital light-based technologies. 

  • 22 Mar 2012 – 15 Jul 2012

    Top Arts 2012

    A major event in the annual school calendar, Top Arts 2012 again presents outstanding work completed by young student artists as part of their assessment for VCE Art and Studio Arts.

  • 10 Mar 2012 – 12 Aug 2012

    Brent Harris

    Brent Harris is one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists.  A prolific painter and printmaker, he is well known for haunting imagery that drifts between abstraction and figuration. Charged with a quiet emotional intensity, his paintings, prints and drawings are often motivated by an exploration of personal memories and the expression of psychological states. Sometimes humorous and often disturbing, they address a range of universal concerns relating to human experience: life, death, fear, doubt, spirituality and sexuality. Encompassing more than 70 works drawn predominantly from the NGV Collection, this exhibition looks at the development of Harris’s unique vision over a career of more than twenty years, exploring the ways that he has continually transformed his approach to image-making from his earliest prints and drawings to his most recent paintings.

  • 04 Feb 2012 – 08 Jul 2012

    Fred KrugerIntimate Landscapes

    This exhibition is a comprehensive survey of the work of Fred Kruger (1831–88), a German migrant to Victoria with a highly distinctive command of photographic language. Kruger’s detailed and compelling images draw us into an intimate experience of the landscape and are achieved through his orchestration of people within natural environments.

  • 26 Jan 2012 – 09 Sep 2012

    Linda Jackson Bush Couture

    For more than 40 years of practice, Linda Jackson played a fundamental role in the development of a distinctly Australian approach to fashion design. Working as an artist outside the conventional fashion marketplace, she devised unique forms of clothing that evolved beyond the sphere of seasonal trends; defying the limits of Western fashion by drawing on an eclectic mix of influences from India, Africa, Asia and Australia.

  • 26 Jan 2012 – 11 Nov 2012

    Time Catcher

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to follow the clues to step through time.

    From an Egyptian hieroglyph to digital contemporary artworks, Time Catcher takes visitors on a journey from ancient times to the modern day. Exploring how art has been used to interpret key moments in time, Time Catcher showcases works as diverse as an ancient Chinese Tomb Ware dog and Victoria’s Centenary clock in the shape of a birthday cake. Incorporating a variety of hands on and multimedia experiences, children and their families can trace time through art and see firsthand how the creation of artworks has informed our understanding of the past, present and future. 

    Parent/carer supervision required. Groups of ten or more by appointment.

  • 17 Dec 2011 – 03 Jun 2012

    In the steps of the Buddha

    This exhibition of 80 Buddhist and Hindu works of art drawn from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria explores the development of Buddhist imagery across Asia. From early Buddhist works created in India in the 2nd - 4th centuries AD to a contemporary Zen Buddhist ink and brush painting in the Chinese tradition, In the steps of the Buddha illustrates different styles of art associated with the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist schools. The exhibition presents a wide range of Buddhist works of art including sculptures of the Buddha, bodhisattvas and Buddhist deities in bronze, wood, clay and lacquer, ritual items, pilgrimage souvenirs, paintings, masks and manuscript covers and includes works from Gandhara, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, China, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.

  • 25 Nov 2011 – 04 Mar 2012

    The Mad SquareModernity in German Art 1910–37

    In an era of chaos came an explosion of creativity – experimental, provocative and utterly compelling.
    Germany in the early twentieth century was a country in turmoil. After the First World War, the monarchy was abolished and replaced with the Weimar Republic. This was a period of political unrest, but it was also an era of optimism characterised by industrial development, innovation, and unprecedented freedom of expression. 

  • 04 Nov 2011 – 26 Feb 2012

    Ranjani ShettarDewdrops and Sunshine

    Filtering Indian craft traditions through her own novel sensibility, Ranjani Shettar transforms natural phenomena into magical forms.

  • 14 Oct 2011 – 19 Feb 2012

    British Watercolours 1760–1900The Age of Splendour

    This exhibition, drawn entirely from the NGV Collection, traces the revolution in British watercolours from the late eighteenth century to the end of the Victorian era. In this period the delicate, tinted drawing of the topographical draughtsman was transformed into a powerful and expressive art form by some of the Romantic and Victorian era’s greatest artists. Watercolour was pivotal to the changing attitudes to landscape at this time and witnessed a shift in emphasis from the recording of the observed world to the expression of the artist’s personal response to nature. The exhibition also reveals the increased ambition of watercolourists in the later 19th century whose ’exhibition watercolours‘ competed with oil paintings in terms of size, brilliance of colour and effect and range of subject matter.
    Artists represented include Thomas Gainsborough, J.M.W. Turner, William Blake, Ford Madox Brown and many others.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 – 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).