Must-see Exhibitions in Melbourne this Winter 2023

Must-see Exhibitions in Melbourne this Winter 2023

Looking for ways to beat the winter chill? Well, you are in for a treat as Melbourne has a ton of art and exhibitions this winter. Whether you want to dive into the Wizarding World of Fantastic Beasts, walk around the illuminated Royal Botanic Gardens, or learn about some of the best artists in the world, there’s enough to fill your cultural calendar.

Here are some of the best Melbourne exhibitions to check out this winter. 

NGV: 2023 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces Exhibition – Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi

Starting June 9 through October 8, The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) will be featuring the works of French painter Pierre Bonnard with immersive scenography by award-winning architect and designer India Mahdavi. Melbournians will get the chance to admire over 100 works of the French painter as part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces Exhibition

Besides Bonnard, the exhibition highlights the works of other renowned artists like Maurice Denis, Félix Vallotton, and Édouard Vuillard.

Inspired by Paul Gauguin and Japanese artists, Bonnard was a post-impressionist known for his subtle use of intense colours and light, intimate domestic interiors, nudes, and natural landscapes. Bonnard was one of the founders of the avant-garde group Les Nabis and later a leader of the Intimists. 

Today his works are presented in world-class museums like Musee d’Orsay in Paris, Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among many others. And despite the divided opinion about his works, Bonnard remains one of the greatest colourists of modern art. 

This is a fantastic opportunity to witness his most beloved works at Melbourne’s NGV.

ACMI: Goddess – Power, Glamour & Rebellion

Running until October 1, Australia’s National Museum of Screen Culture features an exhibition that celebrates leading women on the screen as part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series. 

The Goddess exhibit celebrates women who challenged stereotypes, shaped their own roles, and fought for gender equality in the entertainment industry. That said, expect to see highlights of formidable women from the likes of Geena Davis, Anna May Wong, Marlene Dietrich, Margot Robbie, and Tilda Swinton.  

Bring your peers along and learn all about iconic movies and female film legends that shaped screen culture through over 150 objects, costumes, props, interactive experiences, projections, and soundscapes by Melbourne-based composer Chiara Kickdrum. 

The Goddess events are plenty, from after-hours live performances and exclusive out-of-hours viewing sessions to Goddess costume design workshops for the youngest. 

General admission is $25 and free for children under 16. 

NGV: Melbourne Now

Ten years on from its first debut, the Melbourne Now exhibit returns to NGV, this year starting on March 24, through to August 20 at The Ian Potter Centre. 

Celebrating local art, culture and design, the exhibit highlights the work of more than 200 Victorian artists, designers, and studios shaping the cultural landscape in Victoria and Melbourne. Some of the exhibiting artists are Nicholas Mangan, Pitcha Makin Fellas, Christian Thompson, Atong Atem, and Esther Stewart, among many others.

Expect to see hundreds of works on display from a diverse range of disciplines, including ceramics, architecture, sculpture, fashion, jewellery, photography, virtual reality, and video. 

This is a free event, and with interactive projects for the kids, it could be a fun day out with the family.

Flinders St Station: Rising – Shadow Spirit

One of the major events this season and the reason many Melbournians look forward to winter is the RISING, a festival of food, music, art, and culture. However, if you want to experience something that goes beyond food and music, the Shadow Spirit exhibit is a must-see. 

Starting July 7 and running through to July 30, the Shadow Spirit exhibition displays the contemporary works of thirty of the best First Peoples artists from all across the country, including Julie Gough (Trawlwoolway), Karla Dickens (Wiradjuri) and Judy Watson (Waanyi). 

Showing in the Flinders Street Station abandoned rooms, the exhibit takes you on a journey through time, where you can immerse yourself in celestial worlds and learn about history through imaginative stories. 

Deep, meaningful, and out of this world, the immersive artworks of the Shadow Spirit may not be as much fun for the kids, so keep that in mind before you book your tickets. 

The LUME: Connection

This winter, you can warm yourself up with the fascinating stories of Australia’s most celebrated established and emerging First Nations artists, including Tommy Watson, Lin Onus, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and 100 more artists. 

Connection at The LUME is on display from 23rd June 23 to October 31, showcasing traditional art, photography, and nearly 650 paintings and portraits that tell the story of Australia’s rich culture and history. 

From the Welcome Ceremony and the Art of the First Peoples to traditional ceremonial songs and symbols, the Connection exhibit is one of the most exciting exhibits this winter, perfect for the whole family. 

Take your experience to a new level and reserve a front-row table for two at The LUME Melbourne’s restaurant. 

NGV: Rembrandt – True to Life

Whether you are a fan of the Dutch master or you like art in general, this is an exhibition you can’t miss. Rembrandt: True to Life displays the life of 17th-century artist Rembrandt from his early years in Leiden to his final years in Amsterdam. 

Starting from June 2 and all through September 10, you get the chance to see over 100 etchings, drawings, paintings and material from the NGV permanent collection, including landscapes, biblical motifs, nudes, self-portraits and portraits. 

Besides the artist’s permanent collection, the exhibit display loans of paintings from museum collections worldwide, like the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. 

Rembrandt is one of Holland’s most versatile artists and the greatest painter in all of European Art who was a master in three media, drawing, painting and printmaking. He has created nearly 80 portraits of himself in his four-decade-long career, more than any artist before him.

Royal Botanic Gardens: Lightscape

With hundreds of lights in a mesmerising setting, Lightscape is the perfect after-dark experience at the Royal Botanic Gardens, allowing you to see an even more magical side of the park in the moonlight. 

This year’s event features large-scale illuminated installations stretching across a 2 km trail around the lake, including a glowing 8-meter orb, singing trees, and many surprises along the way. 

Hungry visitors can grab a bite to eat at one of the many food trucks and bars at the Lightscape Welcome Zone or along the trail. 

The illuminated and spellbinding event takes place from June 16 to August 6. Anytime tickets go for $55, while tickets during peak hours cost $40. 

Melbourne Museum: Fantastic Beasts

When it comes to extraordinary exhibitions that leave everyone in awe, no one does it better than the Melbourne Museum. 

Starting May 19 and all through October 8, Melbourne Museum is home to The Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature interactive exhibition of animals and creatures that share the best of two worlds: The Wizarding World and the one of London’s Natural History Museum. 

You’ll discover the link between the real and the mythical beasts in a theatrical exhibition created by Warner Bros and the Natural History Museum London. 

Displays to look forward to include custom-made models from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts film series. The exhibit also features real-life scientists that educate the audience on protecting endangered animals. 

General admission is $32 and free for children under 3. 

Wrap up

With so many things to do and see in Melbourne this winter, it’s easy to beat the winter blues. Go ahead and book your tickets to take advantage of all that Melbourne has to offer. 

Stay at The Sebel Melbourne Moonee Ponds and get to Melbourne’s most exciting exhibitions this winter.