All past exhibitions 

  • 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’.

  • 01 Apr 2010 – 20 Jun 2010

    Top Arts: VCE 2009

    Top Arts: VCE 2009 presents outstanding work completed by young student artists as part of their assessment for VCE Art and Studio Arts. This exhibition highlights the NGV’s strong commitment and support of contemporary art, arts education and showcases the ideas and attitudes of young people. 

  • 26 Mar 2010 – 04 Jul 2010

    Rupert BunnyArtist in Paris

    Rupert Bunny: Artist in Paris traces Bunny’s extraordinary life and art, from Melbourne to Paris and back again. Organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, this is the first major exhibition of Bunny’s work since 1991 and includes over one hundred paintings, drawings and monotypes, some of which have never been seen before in Australia.

  • 19 Mar 2010 – 29 Aug 2010

    Stick it!Collage in Australian Art

    Stick it! looks at Australian artists’ use of collage (from the French word coller, to paste or glue) over the last 70 years both as a final product and as a step in their creative practice. It is the first exhibition at the NGV to focus on this art form.

  • 13 Feb 2010 – 25 Jul 2010

    Love, Loss & Intimacy

    More than any other technique, the immediacy of the drawn line evokes the bond that occurs between an artist and their subject. This exhibition presents drawings and prints from the NGV Collection by seventeenth and eighteenth-century European artists through to contemporary Australians, as well as paintings, sculpture, photographs and media works.

  • 22 Jan 2010 – 23 Jan 2011

    Ron Mueck

    This is the most comprehensive exhibition of work by the Australian-born, London-based artist to be presented in the southern hemisphere. It includes four new works by Mueck in addition to some of his major, recognised works including the iconic Dead Dad.

  • 02 Dec 2009 – 27 Jun 2010

    DrapeClassical Mode to Contemporary Dress

    Drawing predominantly on the NGV collection, Drape features fashion, sculpture, painting, decorative arts and photography from antiquity to now to explore the practice of draping cloth on the body. Designers featured include Rei Kawakubo, Vivienne Westwood, Gianni Versace, Christian Dior, Balenciaga and Hussein Chalayan.

  • 27 Nov 2009 – 21 Mar 2010

    Wisdom of the MountainArt of the Ömie

    This exhibition - the NGV’s first exhibition of contemporary art from Papua New Guinea - showcases a beautiful selection of more than 30 barkcloths created by women from the Ömie tribe. This small tribe of less than 2,000 people lives on the steep, south-eastern slopes of Mount Lamington, Oro Province.

  • 16 Oct 2009 – 28 Feb 2010

    Ricky SwallowThe Bricoleur

    Ricky Swallow’s art investigates how memory is distilled within the objects of daily life. This exhibition - the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in Australia since 2006 - features Swallow's intricately carved wooden sculptures, new sculptural works in wood, bronze and plaster and two large groups of watercolours.

  • 16 Oct 2009 – 04 Apr 2010


    Re-view traces the evolution of photography from the 1840s to now through some of the best loved and most remarkable international photographs in the NGV’s Collection. Artists featured include Julia Margaret Cameron, Nadar, László Moholy-Nagy, Man Ray, Ansel Adams, Robert Frank and Boyd Webb.

  • 09 Oct 2009 – 14 Mar 2010

    ChinoiserieAsia in Europe 1620–1840

    'Chinoiserie' was coined in the 19th century for a decorative style that takes its inspiration from Asian art and design but ultimately reflects European visions of Asia. This exhibition illustrates the development of the style through the NGV’s stunning collection of European and Asian decorative arts, as well as key loans.

  • 30 Sep 2009 – 18 Apr 2010

    Together AloneAustralian and New Zealand Fashion

    As close neighbours, Australia and New Zealand share common fashion ground. Drawing largely on recent acquisitions, Together Alone highlights the dynamic practices of eight leading Australian and New Zealand fashion houses – Akira Isogawa, Toni Maticevski, MaterialByProduct, Romance Was Born, Doris de Pont, World, Nom*D and Zambesi.

  • 17 Sep 2009 – 07 Feb 2010

    2009 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award

    This is a triennial exhibition and award that celebrates the ongoing achievement of some of Australia’s most distinguished contemporary artists. The award was established by Joan and Peter Clemenger through a generous gift to the NGV in 1991. This is the sixth and final award in the series.

  • 27 Aug 2009 – 21 Feb 2010

    Long Distance VisionThree Australian Photographers

    This exhibition examines the idea of the ‘tourist gaze’ and its relationship with three contemporary Australian photographers: Christine Godden, Max Pam and Matthew Sleeth. All have photographed aspects of the everyday at home but have also ventured forth in the world with the delighted, but not uncritical, eyes of the traveller.

  • 21 Aug 2009 – 31 Jan 2010

    Building a CollectionRecent Acquisitions of Prints and Drawings

    The NGV’s Prints and Drawings Collection encompasses Australian and international works on paper, and spans some seven hundred years, from the 15th to the 21st centuries. This exhibition presents a selection of acquisitions made for this collection since 2002 to showcase the extraordinary range of material acquired and reveal collecting directions.

  • 18 Jul 2009 – 13 Sep 2009

    Draw the LineThe Architecture of LAB

    This exhibition presents the process of architectural design through the material of the Federation Square NGV archive together with LAB’s subsequent projects. It explains how architects think about their designs and how concepts and processes become realised as architecture. The exhibition consists of conceptual material, working drawings and models.

  • 13 Jun 2009 – 04 Oct 2009

    Salvador DalíLiquid Desire

    The sixth exhibition in the NGV’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire brings together more than 200 stunning works by Salvador Dalí in all media including painting, drawing, watercolour, etchings, sculpture, fashion, jewellery, cinema and photography.

  • 22 May 2009 – 08 Nov 2009

    PersuasionFashion in the Age of Jane Austen

    This exhibition retraces the dynamic changes in fashion during Jane Austen’s lifetime. Featuring more than 70 works, with most from the NGV Collection, Persuasion surveys the period 1770-1830 and includes fashion, prints and drawings, decorative arts and paintings, with a focus on English women’s dress from the early 19th century.

  • 15 May 2009 – 04 Oct 2009

    Five Elements – Water

    Master Tetsunori Kawana is an internationally renowned practitioner of contemporary Japanese bamboo sculpture. In Five Elements – Water, Master Kawana transforms the Grollo-Equiset Garden at NGV International with a unique bamboo sculpture of vast physical proportion and lyrical power.

  • 08 May 2009 – 27 Sep 2009

    Light YearsPhotography and Space

    This exhibition of photographs drawn from the NGV Collection focuses predominantly on the 1960s and 1970s, an exciting time for the artistic and scientific exploration of worlds beyond our own. These were ‘light years’ when people looked up to the skies and beyond, and through photography discovered additional dimensions.

  • 17 Apr 2009 – 06 Sep 2009

    Dressed to RuleImperial Robes of China

    Dressed to Rule exhibits imperial robes of China from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), including robes worn by the Qing Emperor of China and members of the imperial court. The exhibition also features some stunning accessories such as undergarments made of bamboo beads and silk `lotus' shoes for bound feet.

  • 25 Mar 2009 – 14 Jun 2009

    Top Arts: VCE 2008

    Top Arts: VCE 2008 presents outstanding work completed by young student artists as part of their assessment for VCE Art and Studio Arts. This exhibition highlights the NGV’s strong commitment and support of contemporary art, arts education and showcases the ideas and attitudes of young people.

  • 13 Mar 2009 – 02 Aug 2009

    Shared Sky

    Coinciding with the International Year of Astronomy, Shared Sky explores the cultural experience of the night sky over our southern continent. From Warmun in Western Australia to Melbourne in Victoria, artists of different cultural backgrounds and locales explore humanity's enduring psychological engagement with the southern stars over the centuries.

  • 12 Mar 2009 – 30 Aug 2009

    2009 Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award

    Established to support Victorian artists, this award is arguably the most prestigious of its kind in Australia and a reflection of the NGV’s ongoing commitment to contemporary craft and design practice. Exhibitions associated with the award are devoted to a particular design discipline: in 2009 the focus is on seat furniture design.