Melbourne to build largest contemporary art gallery in Australia

Victoria is hoping to secure its place as the country’s “cultural capital” with plans to build the largest contemporary art gallery in Australia.

The Victorian Government said the gallery would be built at the Carlton and United Breweries site, behind the Arts Centre and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), as part of a new arts precinct in Southbank.

The gallery will be known as NGV Contemporary, and will house contemporary art and design.

Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley said it would cement Victoria as a global leader in the arts world.

“The National Gallery of Victoria is one of the world’s top 20 contemporary art museums and now we’ll have an opportunity to have a dedicated contemporary art facility,” he said.

VIDEO: See what the new Southbank redevelopment will look like.

Premier Daniel Andrews said it would be Australia’s ‘biggest and best” contemporary art gallery.

“This is all about re-imagining this whole arts precinct, opening up Southbank … and setting us up to be not only the sports capital of our nation, but the cultural capital,” he said.

“This is a very, very exciting project.

“And it’s not a question of whether it will happen, this is going to happen and the first stage is fully funded.”

The State Government allocated about $150 million in the May budget to buy the Carlton and United Breweries site and start planning works.

Mr Andrews said further funding would be announced at a later date, but he was certain “Melbourne’s philanthropic community” would support the gallery.

The redevelopment, involving about 18,000 square metres of new and renewed public space, hopes to improve links between Southbank and the city’s main arts centres.

It includes upgrades to theatres at the Arts Centre, an expanded Australian Music Vault, a new centre for small-to-medium arts organisations, a new pedestrian corridor with bars and restaurants, and bike tracks and more green space on Southbank Boulevard.

The Government said the project was expected to create 10,000 jobs during the construction phase, and 260 ongoing jobs.

Announcing the new art space, NGV director Tony Ellwood said he was the “happiest gallery director in Australia right now”.

“This means an enormous amount for Victoria,” he said.

“To actually really capitalise on the strength in numbers around contemporary art and design and to create a building of this magnitude, with this kind of vision, really consolidates our position as the leader in the arts in this country.”

The Arts Centre Melbourne and NGV together attract more than six million visitors every year — twice as many as the MCG.

Mr Ellwood said the recent Triennial at the NGV drew almost 1.3 million visitors, with 20,000 visitors going through the gallery on some days.

“The building really does need to expand,” he said.

He said NGV Contemporary would not be in competition with, but “complement”, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart.

“What we are noticing is a lot of international and national visitors are coming to Melbourne for a cultural experience, and to Hobart, and that’s really healthy,” he said.

Mr Andrews said the Government expects the new gallery to be completed by 2025.

Source: ABC