The National Gallery of Victoria has announced that the city-wide exhibition Melbourne Now will return in 2023, ten years after its inaugural exhibition.

Melbourne Now will again focus on the intersection of architecture, art, design and culture in Melbourne today, exploring how these practices shaping the city’s cultural landscape.

The NGV has allocated an initial $1.5 million to acquire, commission and present new works by local Victorian artists, designers and architects for the exhibition.

“The NGV is delighted to be able to support our local creative community with the second iteration of Melbourne Now,” said NGV director Tony Ellwood. “We know new and significant works will be created by Victorian artists and designers for this exhibition, which will celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of our creative sector.”

The 2013 exhibition was lauded as the first time NGV has placed local design and architecture practices in the context of a wider survey of contemporary art.

Sampling the City 2013.

Image: NGV

It included architecture-focused exhibitions such as Sampling the City, curated by Fleur Watson, which was centred around a four-wall cinematic presentation capturing the work and words of Melbourne’s architectural community, and a series of ideograms by Leon van Schaik.

Reviewing the exhibition for Architecture Australia at the time, Maitiú Ward described it as “a raucously diverse celebration of Melbourne’s arts culture.”

Melbourne Now was the first of the NGV’s now-familiar “summer blockbuster” exhibitions. More than 753,000 visitors attended the exhibition, representing a 32 percent increase in attendance figures compared to the same period in the previous year.

“Embraced by Victorians and visitors alike, the original 2013 Melbourne Now exhibition was a landmark presentation of the most exciting art and design being made in one of the world’s most creative cities,” said Victoria’s creative industries minister, Martin Foley. “Ten years on, Melbourne Now 2023 is set to be an equally momentous event, while playing an important role in the post-COVID recovery of our creative sector.”

The 2023 exhibition will be displayed throughout all levels of The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, including in the permanent collection galleries. It will include new works and commissions by emerging, mid-career and senior practitioners as well as local collectives.

It will cover a wide range of contemporary disciplines including architecture, ceramics, fashion and jewellery, painting, sculpture, video, performance, printmaking and publishing.

Entry will be free, as it was in 2013.

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