Exhibitions 2022 | Urban List Melbourne

Even in the middle of winter, you can find Melburnians rugged up on the tram, oat latte in hand, exploring the cultural capital of Australia. Want to see original photographs from one of the world’s most iconic fashion photographers? Done. How about a giant earth sculpture that rotates in sync with its own soundtrack? We have that. A floating gallery that can only be seen from the water? We’ve got it too.

We’ve curated a list of the best exhibitions around town, so you can boast to your friends interstate about how cultured you are.

Art After Dark 


For two nights only, Melbourne will be restored to its creative best for Art After Dark. Head over to Melbourne Museum to see all of their exhibitions in a new light, explore the NGV lit up with a light projection as part of their QUEER: Stories from the NGV Collection exhibition, and see the state library like never before. There’s something for everyone with events all over town.


When: 6 pm – 1 am Friday 13th May – Saturday 14 May 
Where: Various Locations
For more info click here


St Paul’s Cathedral

The Overview Effect is a phrase that was coined by author Frank White in 1987 and is commonly used to describe the feeling that astronauts have when they are filled with awe for our planet when observing it from space. UK artist Luke Jerram is striving to recreate that feeling here in Melbourne, with his seven-metre wide Earth sculpture, Gaia. It was rendered using detailed NASA imagery for accuracy and rotates once every four minutes to a soundtrack from BAFTA Award-Winning composer Dan Jones. 


When: Various Times from now until Thursday 30 June 
Where: St Paul’s Cathedral, 1 Flinders Street, Melbourne
For more info click here


The Jewish Museum of Australia

Helmut Newton was one of the world’s most iconic fashion photographers. The German-Australian artist was described by the New York Times as a “prolific, widely imitated fashion photographer whose provocative, erotically charged black-and-white photos were a mainstay of Vogue and other publications”. 78 of his original photographs are now on display at The Jewish Museum of Australia, with the exhibition delving into his experiences escaping Germany at the outbreak of WWII and ending up in a small town in regional Victoria.


When: Various times from now until the 29 January 2023
Where: The Jewish Museum of Australia, 26 Alma Rd, St Kilda  
For more info click here

Slava Ukraini

Mitchell Harris Wines 

Slava Ukraini is an exhibition featuring 20 images and written accounts from photojournalist Samuel Eder’s award-winning series, The Face of Donbas and Life on the Line. The name, Slava Ukraini, translates to “glory to Ukraine” and “long live Ukraine”, and is regularly used by people in Ukraine to celebrate their independence. The exhibition has been designed to highlight the ongoing conflict in the country, and the personal impact it has on the people living there. Entry is free but visitors are encouraged to donate to two local NGOs in Ukraine. 


When: Now until Sunday 29 May 
Where: Mitchell Harris Wines, 38 Doveton St, North Ballarat 
For more info click here


Old Treasury Building 

“Surat ” is a Sudanese Arabic phrase meaning “snapshots”, and that’s exactly what Ethiopian born South Sudanese artist Atong Atem has provided with her first photo book. Featuring as part of the PHOTO 2022 festival, Atem’s exhibition showcases a series of self-portraits documenting the art of photography. In her own words, “It’s about South Sudan, so-called Australia and everywhere else in between that I’ve rested my head to dream about my people—or rather the depictions of people I don’t know but am connected to through photographs.”


When: Now until Sunday 22 May 
Where: Old Treasury Building, 20 Spring St, Melbourne 
For more info click here.

Elvis: Direct From Graceland 

Bendigo Art Gallery  

In preparation for the highly anticipated release of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, it’s time to pack some snacks, put on a podcast, and make a road trip to Bendigo. The gallery, located around two hours out of Melbourne, has flown over 300 artefacts from the Graceland archive. Some of the highlights include Elvis and Pricilla’s wedding outfits, the repurposed costume he wore to meet President Nixon, and personal items including his gold telephone.


When: Open 10 am until 5 pm now until Sunday 17 July
Where: Bendigo Art Gallery, 42 View St, Bendigo 
For more info click here

Desert Tropical By Habitat Legit 

Dark Horse Experiment 

Desert Tropical is the latest exhibition to feature at the Dark Horse Experiment Gallery. It features collages of images that have been digitally manipulated, to create a “colourful oasis where you can escape from the mundane. A place to express yourself, rejuvenate and vacation from reality”. It’s open for two days only, and after the last couple of years, a holiday sounds like just what we need. 


When: Friday 3 June – Sunday 5 June 
Where: Dark Horse Experiment, 33-35 Dudley St, West Melbourne
For more info click here


Point Leo Boat Club

Drifting through the waters of Point Leo for one day only is a floating gallery of ocean-inspired art, from the O_C_E_A_N contemporary art series. The exhibition features works from artists including Shanai Kellett, Leyla Bulmer and Judith Van Heeren. It’s best seen by paddleboard, surfboard, or if you’re brave enough, while freestyling your way around…you may need a wetsuit for that one though. 


When: 10 am – 2 pm Saturday 14 May 
Where: Point Leo Boat Club, Off Western Parade, Point Leo
For more info click here

This Place by Josh Muir 

The Atrium Fed Square

Josh Muir was an award-winning Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara artist who was known for his distinctive style of storytelling through art—drawing upon historical events and the stories that surround them and utilising bright colours and bold lines. While working on an exhibition to be showcased at Fed Square, Muir tragically passed away. This exhibition is being held in his honour, with the artworks for sale for the benefit of his children, Jamari and Jyla.


When: Now until Sunday 22nd May
Where: The Atrium Fed Square, Swanston St, Melbourne 
For more info click here

Cyrus Tang: Time Fell Asleep In The Evening Rain

Linden New Art Gallery 

Have you found yourself looking back on the last couple of years and noticing they’ve all kind of merged into one? Artist Cyrus Tang is exploring the experience of time and memory in the context of the pandemic, in a series of photographic works and lightboxes at Linden Art Gallery. Each of Tang’s images is made up of at least 100 overlapping photographs which she captured daily during the 2020 lockdowns in Melbourne. The exhibition features themes of repetition and the slowing down of time—feelings Melburnians know very well. 


When: Now until Friday 5 June
Where: Linden New Art Gallery, 26 Acland St, St Kilda 
For more info click here

Photo 2022

Various Locations

Photo 2022 is Australia’s largest photography event with 123 artists and over 50 cultural, educational, industry and government partners. This year’s theme is “being human”, with exhibitions that explore mortality, self, society, nature and history. These photo series are on display all over Melbourne and around Victoria—from the Old Melbourne Gaol to the Murray Art Museum in Albury. One of the best ways to see some of the exhibitions around town is on a cycle tour, where associate curator, Brendan McClearly, will talk you through the projects.


When: Friday 29 April until Sunday 22 May 
Where: Various Locations
For more info click here


Arts Centre Melbourne

Evoke all of your favourite childhood memories with a giant kaleidoscope in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. Made up of 700sqm of glass, steel, mirrors and moving prisms, the exhibition will be on display at the Arts Centre Melbourne as part of the city’s RISING program. Guests can explore a maze of corridors surrounded by a slowly revolving display of light and colour. Prepare to be surprised and disorientated in the best way possible.


When: Wednesday 1 June until Sunday 10 July
Where: Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne 
For more info click here

The Picasso Century 


Melbourne will soon be home to one of the most extensive displays of Pablo Picasso’s work, as part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series at the NGV. The Picasso Century collection will showcase over 70 of the artist’s prized works, including the world-renowned, ‘Portrait de femme’. It will also feature works from his contemporaries including Salvador Dalí, Giorgio de Chirico and André Masson.


When: 10 am – 5 pm Friday 10 June until Sunday 9 October
Where: NGV, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne 
For more info click here

Did you hear NGV Friday Nights are making a comeback? More info here.

Image credits: supplied

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