Arguably, no city in Australia comes close to Melbourne for the cultivation of creativity. From north to south, it eats, sleeps, drinks, designs, debates and writes about the urge to produce, then films the whole flipping thing in a determined effort to illuminate its inner life. The Southbank arts precinct puts this predisposition on plain view, in buildings that vent their architectural spleen. Federation Square, a conglomerate of cultural attractions, takes in the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, where a full survey of Australian art unfolds across 20-plus galleries. At the Potter, prioritise the Aboriginal art (senior curator Judith Ryan is intrinsic to its breathtaking scope), the Angry Penguins (Australian avant-garde of the 1940s) and the Design Studio, where Broached Commissions, a Melbourne design agency interrogating Australia’s aesthetic, is exhibiting until February 2019. If predilections run to cultural institutions that push beyond the parameters of possession and edification, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art is a ‘gotta-go-see’. Reflecting rather than collecting, it is the killer kunsthalle — galleries
Melbourne eats, sleeps, drinks, designs, debates and writes about the urge to produce, then films the whole flipping thing
unfurling with Tardis-like largesse inside the folds of Wood Marsh architecture — that tackles big issues and entices big names within small bounds. Distilling the persona of Melbourne in a quixotic bluestone fortress that belies all inner mystery with its mousehole entry (thank you, architect Sir Roy Grounds), the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) celebrates its 50th year at its St Kilda Road location with more blockbusters, big nights out (Fridays are always late-access fun) and the expansive intent to build the NGV Contemporary (promising to be Australia’s biggest and best). The gallery’s curatorial eye counterpoints that of its newbie neighbour Buxton Contemporary, where the Australian art appetite of one philanthropic collector, property mogul Michael Buxton, communicates across every surface in the Fender Katsalidis-designed museum. If visiting the city between October and February, head across St Kilda Road from the NGV to the Queen Victoria Gardens, where MPavilion, the demountable architecture commission (currently designed by Spanish architect Carme Pinós) hosts daily debates and design-focused doings. acca.melbourne; acmi.net.au; buxton contemporary.com; mpavilion.org; ngv.vic.gov.au
Located in Sturt Street, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art is housed in a Wood Marsh-designed building.