Unique is an overused word. But it just might be appropriate for the City Gallery at Melbourne Town Hall. No other such space has offered a sustained program of free, regular exhibitions focused exclusively on central Melbourne, backed by an authentic collection and supported by loans and new commissions.
Some numbers: more than 50 exhibitions held since the gallery opened in 2002; an average of three exhibitions per year; the work of more than 300 living artists shown; considerably more than 1000 artworks, photographs and artefacts displayed.
Besides its symbiotic relationship with the City Collection, the gallery’s hallmark is the quality of its curatorship and design. Many of its curators have spent years working in and around their subject, and the space gives a voice to them and the artists and other city documenters shown. No two shows look the same, and the prize-winning catalogues are coveted records of exhibitions.
Melbourne Town Hall, 110 Swanston Street, Melbourne.
(enter via Halftix)
Monday 10am to 2pm; Tuesday to Friday 11am to 6pm; Saturday 10am to 4pm
Closed Sunday and public holidays
Between the Street and the Sky
Curated by Rob Adams
8 March to 28 April 2018
What sort of city do we want?
Postcode 3000 has delivered a dynamic, diverse, textured and engaging inner city. It revived what had become an atrophied centre, rebuilding, repopulating and reenergising Melbourne’s urban heart. Adaptive reuse of heritage buildings, human-scale development, quality streetscapes and activated public spaces have earned our metropolis the moniker of the world’s most liveable city for several years running.
But, what of the next 20 years? Is the legacy of this success eroding the benefits gained?
For the inner city to flourish, building regulations were relaxed, and in the current bullish environment, development pushes towers ever skyward. Lofty heights and reduced setbacks create windswept urban canyons, and building-service amenities diminish the street experience that supports vibrant, civic street life.
Has our regulatory framework failed to keep pace with development and our desire to retain the character of our beloved city? This exhibition questions the dynamic being played out between the street and the sky.
Prof Rob Adams AM is Director of City Design and Projects at the City of Melbourne where he has led urban design strategy and delivered more than 150 award-winning projects and programs since 1983. He co-edited the recently published Urban Choreography, Central Melbourne 1985- (MUP, 2018) and was the curator of the 2014 City Gallery exhibition, ‘Postcode 3000, a city transformed?’.
Visit City Gallery for past exhibitions.