FREE ART & CULTURE
Our current exhibiting artist Nadine Christensen fosters her engagement with the world around her on walks through the neighbourhood from her home to studio and back again, gathering objects and ideas along the way. Take a closer look at Buxton Contemporary’s neighbourhood with this self-guided walking tour that highlights the free arts and culture sites and activities nearby.
JULIAN OPIE'S AUSTRALIAN BIRDS
Exit Buxton Contemporary and walk along Southbank Boulevard towards St Kilda Road. You’ll be crossing to Queen Victoria Gardens, but as you do, keep an eye out for the more than 20 LED screens animated with birds that appear to be grazing on the nature strips, unperturbed by the passing traffic.
Commissioned by the City of Melbourne and the NGV, this permanent installation by Julian Opie is influenced by classical portraiture, Egyptian hieroglyphs and Japanese woodblock prints, as well as public signage, information boards and traffic signs.
Address: Ground level, nature strip on St Kilda Road
Enter Queen Victoria Gardens to discover MPavilion, Australia’s leading architecture commission.
Each year, the Naomi Milgrom Foundation invites extraordinary architects from Australia and across the world to design a meeting place. From this MPavilion, a five-month design festival of free events is launched – prompting locals and visitors alike to consider how architecture, art and design can change lives.
This summer’s design is Pritzker Prize Laureate Tadao Ando’s first Australian project.
Address: Queen Victoria Gardens, St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004
Back across the road, the NGV International is hosting the free exhibition the NGV Triennial. Outside you can see works by David Shrigley and Wurundjeri artist Aunty Kim Wandin. Head inside for a powerful and moving snapshot of the world today as captured through the work of 100 artists, designers, and collectives at the forefront of global contemporary practice. The NGV Triennial features more than 75 projects inviting us to reflect on the world as it is, while also asking how we would like it to be.
Also showing for free at this venue is the NGV 2023 Architecture Commission, (This is) Air, developed by Nic Brunsdon in collaboration with ENESS.
Address: 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3006
Open hours: Monday – Friday, 10am–5pm, until 7 April 2024
AUSTRALIAN MUSIC VAULT
Next door, under the Arts Centre spire, you’ll find the the Australian Music Vault. This free exhibition showcases the Australian music story through interactive and digital experiences and iconic objects from the Australian Performing Arts Collection.
Explore the musical influences on the Australian ‘sound’, see costumes worn by international stars and unlock the stories of hip hop in Australia.Spend some time in here listening to interviews with musicians, promoters and behind-the-scenes people sharing their stories.
Address: 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004
Open hours: Monday – Friday, 10am– 5pm
ATONG ATEM'S OUTDOOR LIVING
Take a stroll past an artwork by Melbourne-based artist Atong Atem, Outdoor Living (2021).
This dramatic statement in paint and LED neons on Hanover House draws inspiration from the artist’s archive of vintage European wallpapers and collected native flowers. Signature motifs adapted from Atem’s past works, large-scale illuminated neon flowers overlay a painted wallpaper design across two facades of the 20m building.
Address: 158 City Rd, Southbank VIC 3006
Turn left and head south east on Power Street, taking a slight detour into Moore Street and along the walkway to Sturt Street as you make your way to the next stop. Notice five glass vitrines lining the thoroughfare? This is Assembly Point, an opportunity for visual artists to curate and exhibit sculptural and three dimensional work in the centre of Melbourne’s Arts Precinct.
Address: 152 Sturt St, Southbank VIC 3006
FROM THE OTHER SIDE
Make your way down Sturt Street to arrive at the distinctive red-rust building of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA). The current free exhibition From the Other Side brings together twenty Australian and international artists, integrating historical and contemporary works that draw upon horror’s capacity to transgress and destabilise forms of power and subjugation.
The exhibition casts a lens upon feminist, queer and non-binary subjectivities to consider the transgressive pleasures and liberations of horror, as makers, masters and consumers of the genre.
Address: 111 Sturt St, Southbank VIC 3006
Open hours: Tue–Fri 10am–5 pm, Sat & Sun 11am–5 pm, until 3 Mar 2024. Free tours on Sundays.
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS MELBOURNE
The Royal Botanic Gardens cover over38 hectares so you. may well need a whole new day to truly explore them. The gardens display a vast and diverse collection of plants from around the world, including rare and threatened species.
The new Arid Garden features more than 3,000 cacti and succulents. Experience the diversity colours, flowers and shapes that these fascinating plants have to offer. Other attractions include Guilfoyle’s Volcano, the Melbourne Observatory, the Tropical Glasshouse, Plant Craft Cottage and numerous lakes, islands, and sculptures dotted around the site.
Address: 100 St Kilda Rd, Southbank VIC 3004
Free guided walk: Tue – Sun 10.30am, Sat & Sun 1.30pm
Open hours: Daily, 7.30am to sunset.