Melbourne is often hailed as the arts capital of Australia, and rightly so as there is no shortage of galleries to visit here.
By The Design Hoarder
Melbourne is the must visit, Australian city for all-things art, design and culture. Showcasing some of the best emerging and established local and international artists, Melbourne offers an amazing array of beautiful galleries and equally interesting interiors to match. Listed below are some of the best independent art galleries around.
The art spaces in Melbourne are spread around the city with spots of concentrated galleries.
Located in the central business district (CBD) of Melbourne City, Flinders Lane is filled with galleries within walking distance from one another.
For more unique and independent art spaces, you can head to Collingwood and Fitzroy. Both are approximately 3km from the CBD and easily accessible via tram.
South Yarra and Richmond, which are a bit further from the city, also feature several key art spaces. Travelling by tram or train are the best modes of public transportation.
An alternative but very convenient option to explore the city is to hire a bicycle. Melbourne is an easy city to ride and navigate around, with designated bike lanes and bike paths in most areas.
Anna Schwartz Gallery
Probably one of Melbourne's best known and well respected contemporary art dealers is Anna Schwartz and her city gallery is equally impressive. Designed back in 1993 by Melbourne's DCM (Denton Corker Marshall), the timeless gallery is incredibly harsh and intimidating at first glance - minimalistic and clinical white box with exposed fluorescent lighting and polished concrete floor. As a contrast, the front desk staff are friendly and incredibly knowledgeable and it's always a treat to bump into Anna and have an impromptu art-talk. The gallery houses art from both local and international artists, with a strong emphasis on conceptual and installation art.
On the opposite corner to the gallery is one of Melbourne's first design hotels - the Adelphi Hotel, with its cantilevered glass pool bottom which overhangs onto Flinders Lane. Additionally, across the road is Andrew McConnell's fantastic Supernormal restaurant.
Arc One Gallery
Discreetly tucked behind Andrew McConnell's popular Cumulus restaurant, Arcone is an artspace representing many local and international artists including some of my favourite Australian artists, Robert Owen and Janet Laurence. The main gallery space is used to showcase temporary solo and group exhibitions. The open plan room is lit by filtered light from the overhead exposed sawtooth ceiling. The adjoining staff workspace showcases additional work by other artists represented by the gallery.
Located on the fourth floor of a building within the business district of the city, Tolarno is a minimalistic space, specialising in Australian art. The interior of the gallery is flooded with natural light bathing the exposed concrete slab ceiling and contrasted with an incredible polished black floor.
Nicholas Thompson Gallery
Positioned in the lower section of Collingwood towards Hoddle Street, The Nicholas Thompson Gallery is housed in an unassuming red bricked building. The smaller sized gallery focuses on contemporary Australian art, and represents one of my many favourite local artists Louise Tuckwell.
Within a short walk away are fantastic cafes, eateries and bars such as Allpress Espresso, Rupert on Rupert and Lebonton.
Set in a distinctive space designed by John Wardle Architects (their office is located in the building above), Bus Projects is an alternative art space focusing on up and coming Australian artists. Artwork shown here is less mainstream and commercial in direction. If you like to be entertained, challenged, amused, and sometimes shocked, Bus Projects is worth visiting.
Located a couple of streets from the main drag of Smith Street, Collingwood, Lindberg Galleries can be found in a raw warehouse space. Crisp white gallery walls, concrete floors and mood lighting forms the canvas for the artwork housed in this gallery.
Located nearby are great Japanese stores and eateries on Peel Street such as Tokyobike, Minanoie and Aka Siro.
Located in the heart of Fitzroy on Brunswick Street, the Sutton Gallery is an unexpected open gallery space exhibiting paintings and sculptures by Australian artists. Enter through a set of barn-like doors to a gallery that is bright and airy with exposed tall ceiling rafters and skylights.
Centre for Contemporary Photography
Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP), was designed by renowned Australian architect Sean Godsell. This space is dedicated to photographic artworks.
The most unique characteristic feature of the space is the use of oversized pegboard walls and ceilings throughout the gallery. CCP focuses on presenting photographic work in various formats such as framed, unframed, printed, digital and mixed media installations.
Check out the nearby restaurant Bar Liberty on Johnston Street, which serves great food and a very impressive drinks list.
C3 Contemporary Art Space
Located within Abbotsford Convent, C3 Artspace is an alternative gallery focusing on emerging artists whose practices range from painting, sculpture, to video and performance art.
The distinctive paved brick flooring and white painted brick walls (including the quaint remnants of an old fireplace) give this gallery a raw edge which complements the diverse range of art it showcases. One of the best annual shows held at C3 is the gallery's fundraiser.
Located nearby are cafes and bars of the Abbotsford Convent and Collingwood Children's Farm.
Sophie Gannon Gallery
The Sophie Gannon Gallery is located on a side street, just walking distance from the design furniture precinct in Richmond.
Works of art are hung on simple white walls below a raked ceiling with exposed roof trusses.
Station Gallery is located in the back streets, behind the iconic Jam Factory in South Yarra. Set in a beautifully architectural space, the exterior is clad in blackened steel with white wall interiors and exposed rafters against a ply ceiling. The art normally showcased at Station is as clean as the space it’s in.
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