Besides beautiful landscapes and unmatching vistas, Australia has been a place of inspiration and an art epicenter for native and international artists. The country embraces a great wealth of art exhibitions in boundless styles and expressions, which are sheltered at numerous world-renowned art galleries.
To find inspiration in classic works and experience the delight and freshness of modern masterworks, we have curated a list of top 20 art galleries in Australia that you must visit at least once.
NSW art gallery houses the largest collections of Aboriginal art in the country, together with international masterpieces from the oriental, European, and American countries. The gathering of these collections started in 1872 as an art academy.
Later, the massive assemblage of the artworks turned the academic gallery into a national art museum. For art lovers and students of NSW modern art institutes, these collections are a source of inspiration and considered an educational reference.
Another unrivaled artistic gathering, the NGV is another one of the largest and oldest art galleries in Australia. Interestingly, it is ranked as the most visited in the southern hemisphere settlements, housing various remarkable artworks. The exhibitions are divided by stylish techniques, artistic and historic references.
Today, this art gallery remains one of the most avant-garde art centers with modern exhibitions of art, architecture, performance, and cultural displays.
You can find anything from films, video games, clip art, historic and up-to-date exhibitions of animated art are found at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Pre and post-production stages of films and animations are displayed in ACMI’s technical exhibitions.
The museum recounts the cultural evolution of cinema and visual arts, while the Audience lab offers the most innovative projections of films and moving images.
Apart from exhibitions, ACMI is stationed inside an artistically architected building that itself is a wondrous artwork. Sitting in the vicinity of Melbourne’s famous Federation Square, visitors can head to several renowned art galleries, museums and other cultural hubs just pace away.
When it comes to Modern Arts, Queensland Art Gallery boasts impeccable collections that stand out on a global scale. A part of the exhibitions is dedicated to the history of art in Queensland and Australia. Additionally, there are classic painting exhibitions, guest displays from the modernist museums, and other art centers at the temporary exhibition areas.
The museum has a knack for other forms of visual arts as well, housing a photography gallery and occasional displays of awards and films from national and internal artists.
Among the distinguishing features of the museum is its award-winning cafe and restaurant. You can reserve a spot for meals and refreshments that are described as edible masterworks both in taste and appearance.
Besides the world-famous sandstones, Yulara’s indigenous art museum is a wondrous and one of a kind of attraction. The Ayers Rock urban settlement has been a heritage home to the aboriginal Anangu people; this museum showcases the identity and art of this ancient society while seeking its perseverance.
Exhibitions also feature other indigenous tribal art and handcrafted works depicted in paintings, textile, glass, and metal works as well as jewelry and leather.
To understand and get acquainted with the Central Australian indigenous culture, this place is the best place to start with.
An epicenter of modern art, Memes of contemporary art combines a new conceptualization of art with a focus on art deco styles as well as maritime relics. Today, the extensive collections are visited by the university as an educational reference, while peeking through the pulsating heart of modern creativity. MCA does not only exhibit modernism; it encourages the creation and entices inspiration.
After watching the mesmerizing art pieces, you can enjoy a refreshment at the scenic cafe of the museum, overlooking the stunning scenery of Sydney’s Harbour.
The unmatched beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and elaborate art creations are merged to create one of the most eccentric museums in the world, located in Townsville, North Queensland. Museum of Underwater Art houses artworks from eminent international artists, covering underwater sculptures, architecture, and conceptual expositions.
It is the first and only underwater museum of the southern hemisphere, which is surely unparalleled in the world for its living marine residents and spectacular underwater topographies.
Home to over 160,000 artworks, the National Gallery of Australia is one of the country’s largest amalgam of creative objects. The exhibitions range from Asian artworks from both ancient and modern artists; aboriginal art and artifacts, a large portion of modern art displays at the emotive conceptual exhibitions, abstract and impressionist painting, to baffling sculpture halls, to archives of Australia nation achievements and everything in between.
Located in the green capital city of Australia, the building itself is a product of art with brutalism inclination in its architectural standards.
In the art-riddled neighborhood of Melbourne, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art stands for modernism at the core of each of its exhibitions. The building itself boasts a rule-breaking cubism architecture, while the interior exhibitions offer contemporary takes on sculpture and paintings from native and international artists.
At a stone’s throw from this art gallery, Melbourne Theatre may be a perfect stop to enjoy the art in motion.
At the fishing capital of Tasmania, Hobart, the Museum of the Old and New houses over 2000 artworks from diverse genres and stylistic approaches, all with a unique perfection of creative masterpieces. The diversified collections in MONA are described as the rebellious adults Disneyland.
The displays cover from Egyptian relics to conceptual contemporary art- all gathered by the efforts of David Walsh, an Australian art collector!
Sitting at the urbane heart of Australian outbacks and the lush nature of the western terrains, the Art Gallery of Western Australia is located in Perth Cultural Centre. This art museum mostly focuses on post-classical art, combining realism with a hint of impressionism from mostly Australian artists, as well as renowned international masterpieces.
Other parts of the gallery are dedicated to contemporary paintings, films, sculptures, as well as aboriginal artists’ masterpieces.
Established in the telescope town of New South Wales, the National Portrait Gallery of Parkes is all about faces and the deep messages they carry in simplified expressions. The gallery shelters over 3000 portraits, manifested through painting, sculpture, photography, and other media.
Integrating into the surrounding key scenery, the building’s structure itself invites the visitors to contemplate on the art of architecture- combining geometric lineations, while featuring daylight-lit gallery halls on the inside.
Bendigo, the Ceramic Capital of Victoria, is home to its namesake art gallery, established all the way back in 1887. The building is a Victorian inclined artwork of William Charles Vahland, the 19th century German- Australian artist.
The interior is as richly decorated as its exceptional demeanor, both by the architectural perfection and highly prized artworks including; the works of Australias’ one of the most accomplished artists, Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize.
The entire gallery is a treasure trove of classic and post-classical paintings of European artists, put together with Australian masterworks created from the early 1800s to the modern day.
A visit to the art gallery of Ballarat is described as a moving experience. Founded in the elegant town of Ballarat and amid the tasteful Victorian structures, the art gallery itself takes a part of the Victorian heritage. Registered as a heritage site, the gallery holds artifacts such as original war crafts and triumphant Eureka Flag, postcolonial art, and contemporary masterworks and sculptures all displayed in a luxurious exposition akin to the extravagant Victorian interior design. The art museum is considered the largest and oldest museum of its kind in the entire country.
TarraWarra Museum of Art rises amid the skyscrapers and posh urbanscape of the business precinct in Melbourne. The museum was initially established by the efforts of the Besen family, which later turned into a national treasure. According to numerous art critiques, it is one of the country’s finest collections and a perfect epicenter to enjoy Australian art.
The exhibition includes an amalgam of masterworks from prestigious and award-winning native artists and a few international artworks as well. The performance styles vary from realism, impressionism, abstract, and more.
Once a coal mining harbor, Newcastle is the Australian modern artist’s hub, housing one of the most prominent art museums in the world- named as Newcastle Art Gallery.
The founding stone of this gallery was set by Queen Elizabeth II in the 1950s, with collections extending from painting, sculptures, ceramic works of Europe and Japan, native and international masterworks as well as modern media art.
A past resident of a prestigious artist and a contemporary art exhibition, Lyon Housemuseum is located in the tranquil suburbs of Melbourne. The collections here were created by Corbett Lyon and Yueji Lyon.
The exhibitions are rather new, establishing artworks such as painting, sculpture, and photography of the 1990s- showcasing the structural foundation of Australian contemporary art within 350 pieces. Among the masterworks of Lyon is the building itself with experimental connotations. In recent years, this hybridized art museum included art exhibitions from international artists.
One of the most comprehensive art museums in the country, Flinders University Museum of Art focuses on the historic art of Australia from the royal persona’s belongings, colonial artists, and exhibitions of the rule-breaking contemporary masterworks.
Other exhibitions here stretch from 19th-century European art from renowned and also less popular artists, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks. Among the 8000 bewildering artifacts and art world, the museum also safeguards some of Australia’s most significant historic documents.
Located in the cultural neighborhood of Brisbane, GOMA shelters extensive exhibitions, known as the largest contemporary art assembled in the entire country.
Exhibits are categorized by name and sole-source artistic performances. There are masterpieces of international artists with bewildering expressions of style and contemporary ideals- we know as modern art.
One of Australia’s most prominent art galleries belongs to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, described as Melbourne’s most palpating art space. Exhibitions feature an array of art, extending from fashion, architecture, to canvases and sculptures.
The styles also vary from classic to contemporary as well as experimental. The collections are set in a way that takes the spectators through the history of art and its evolution until today.
Here are three more of our favorite, but less known, art museums in Australia;
One of the world’s most spectacular contemporary art and handicraft exhibitions, White Rabbit Gallery is located at the center of Sydney. The art gallery pays tribute to modern oriental art, sided with a hearty theatre and a teahouse.
In an acknowledgment of traditional landowners of Australia, Shepparton Art Museum upholds the living culture of several aboriginal tribes as well as their fascinating artworks.
This art gallery is noted as one of the best indigenous art and artifact collections worldwide.
Once an atelier and residence to Brett Whiteley, the artist’s living quarters is a contemporary art museum today- noted as one of Sydney’s must-visit destinations. The gallery presents the artist’s masterworks and landscape paintings, sided by occasional live music performances and literature round tables.