Melbourne Now was just the beginning

From speech given by Tony Ellwood the Director of National Gallery of Victoria at the Contemporary Now event, Tuesday 18 March 2014.

I would like to share some of our exciting plans for the future. Plans that signal a shift in the long term vision of the NGV; plans we hope you will be a part of. Firstly, I’d like to share with you some of the outcomes we’ve had from Melbourne Now.

To say we have been overwhelmed by the response would be an understatement. I can confidently say that Melbourne Now has been the most ambitious exhibition we have ever mounted; an undertaking that has changed the way the Gallery operates and elevated our aspirations.

The exhibition has resulted in over 100 works of art acquired, both facilitating an important investment into the Melbourne arts community and creating a long term legacy with the growth of our contemporary art collection.

It has also been a giant leap forward in our strategic direction to tell more relevant and diverse stories through our programming of contemporary art. I am extremely proud of what we have achieved.

To date over 700,000 visitors have been welcomed. This equates to over 6,000 a day; Extraordinary given our original target of 400,000.

But Melbourne Now is really just the beginning.

I would now like to share with you our ambitious next steps.

In recent months we have been laying the foundations for something truly extraordinary. We are planning a new event for Melbourne.

A major new initiative which aims to position the NGV at the forefront of international contemporary art, to commence in summer 2017 and to recur on a 3 year cycle from then on.

An ambitious and large-scale celebration that embraces the very best contemporary art and design from around the world. Curated by the NGV, it will investigate the ideas, issues and events that inspire us to consider the world in which we live. Spanning both NGV sites, it will be a new cultural event for our region.

It will provide a multidisciplinary focus on art, architecture and design, as well as film, performance and a variety of cultural practices, providing audiences with an opportunity to be exposed to the broadest range of artistic endeavour and expression.

Amongst large-scale international events of this kind, this  cross-disciplinary approach will be distinctive and will be seen as a ground-breaking development in the recent history of major exhibitions.

It will be a unique way to grow the best collection of international contemporary art and design for our region and create a lasting legacy for Melbourne.

We will collaborate with a host of diverse artists. We will explore new modes of practice, and global contemporary art in its diverse and dynamic forms. And eventually we hope to see this landmark event take place in a new home for contemporary art of the twenty-first century.

Our vision is bold. Our vision is ambitious. Our vision will make Melbourne a leading hub for contemporary art. And it will be transformative.

We are proud to announce the NGV Triennial.

Tony Ellwood is the Director of the National Gallery of Victoria. Find out more about him.