Melbourne is a key centre of contemporary art in the Asia Pacific region, and its reputation has grown dramatically over the past decade, with its growing number of excellent public and private collections. This tour brings you the best of contemporary art in Melbourne, from the NGV Triennial – now the largest contemporary art event in Australia – to major special exhibitions at Heide and TarraWarra, private visits to Justin Art House Museum and Lyon Housemuseum, and artist studio visits. The tour also includes fine dining in Melbourne and the Yarra Valley, five star accommodation and a performance.
The NGV Triennial is Australia’s largest contemporary art event, with over 100 leading artists from around the globe
Private collections including the Justin Art House Museum and Lyon Housemuseum, impressive collections in in the private residences of architects
Artist studio visits – there’s no better way to learn about an artist’s work than to hear directly from the artist and see their work coming together in the studio
TarraWarra Museum of Art and Heide Museum of Modern Art, two of Victoria’s finest collections of modern Australian art with their highly regarded temporary exhibitions too
Fine dining in Melbourne and the Yarra Valley, five-star accommodation and a performance
Day 1: Meet in the hotel in the early afternoon for a background talk, followed by a private visit to the Justin Art House Museum guided by the Justins, canapés and dinner.
Day 2: Tour of the NGV Triennial followed by time to explore independently; mid-afternoon visit to Buxton Contemporary.
Day 3: Private visit of TarraWarra Museum of Art in the Yarra Valley, followed by lunch at a vineyard. Afternoon visits to artists’ studios.
Day 4: Private guided visit of Lyon Housemuseum, including its new wing, followed by lunch at a fine restaurant and artist studio visits. Evening performance.
Day 5: Guided visit of Heide Museum of Modern Art, followed by time to see its special exhibitions. Tour ends at Melbourne Airport at 1pm.
The tour begins at The Langham Hotel in Melbourne and ends at Melbourne Airport. Qantas fly regularly to Melbourne from around Australia. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Wednesday 24 February: Justin Art House
We meet this afternoon in our hotel, where we have a lecture on the growth of contemporary art in Melbourne and the history of art colleting in Victoria. We then visit the Justin Art House, the residence and private collection of the Justins. The building was designed by Charles Justin to strike a balance between displaying their collection, providing them with a new residence and achieving an 8+ environmental design rating. After Charles and Leah take us around their house and show us their collection, we enjoy cocktails and then dinner in one of Melbourne’s fine restaurants. Overnight Melbourne (D)
Thursday 25 February: The NGV Triennial
The NGV Triennial is now the largest contemporary art event in Australia, despite only starting in 2017. This year’s show includes over 100 artists and designers from around the globe. The selection is diverse – it includes international giants such as Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz and Jeff Koons, indigenous artists such as Tony Alberts and Dhambit Mununggur, and a variety of emerging artists and designers from Africa, Europe, Asia and the USA. This morning we take a guided tour of the main exhibition, followed by free time to explore the show at your own pace. In the mid-afternoon, we visit exhibitions at the nearby Buxton Contemporary, a museum whose collection was founded on the private collection of Michael Buxton. Overnight Melbourne (B)
Friday 26 February: TarraWarra and studio visits
Today we travel by coach to the Yarra Valley to visit the TarraWarra Museum of Art. The Museum is fantastically sited among the vineyards the region is so well-known for and has an excellent collection and reputation for innovative temporary exhibitions. We have a private guided tour of the exhibition, Looking Glass. The exhibition features the art of Judy Watson and Yhonnie Scarce, two of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, and explores indigenous relationships to Country. We then enjoy lunch in a fine restaurant in the Yarra Valley, before returning to Melbourne via two artist studios (details of which will be finalised in early January 2021). Evening at leisure. Overnight Melbourne (B, L)
Saturday 27 February: Lyon Housemuseum and studio visits
This morning we visit Lyon Housemuseum, the extraordinary residence of Corbett Lyon designed as a living museum. The Housemuseum was a novel concept when it first opened and received international attention – a rarity for an Australian program. The Lyons have, however, recently and controversially expanded their premises and it now includes an additional custom built museum space which showcases more of their extensive collection of contemporary Australian art. After a private tour of the Housemuseum and the new museum building next door, we enjoy lunch at an excellent Melbourne restaurant. In the afternoon we visit some more artists studios in Melbourne. In the evening, we enjoy a performance (TBC). Overnight Melbourne (B, L)
Sunday 28 February: Heide
This morning we travel by coach to Heide Museum of Modern Art. The museum was originally the residence of Sunday Reed and the centre of bohemian Melbourne from the 1930s to 1960s, with artists including Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester, Albert Tucker and Arthur Boyd all spending time here. Today the original residence is a museum and gallery, but it is only one of four art display spaces on the property. This morning we have a private guided tour of Heide, followed by time to explore the sculpture garden and the exhibition Modern Women, which showcases the works of the numerous women artists closely associated with Heide, from Joy Hester and Sunday Reed to Mirrka Mora. After our visit, we continue to Melbourne airport where the tour concludes at 1pm. (B)
Dr Nick Gordon
A cultural historian with a PhD in History, and practicing painter who brings this passion to the visual arts.
Dr Nick Gordon is a cultural historian and artist, with over 10 years of experience leading tours to Europe. He has strong interests in art, history, philosophy and architecture, from the ancient world to the present.
Nick holds a University Medal and PhD in history from the University of Sydney. He taught medieval and Renaissance history at the University of Sydney, the history of political thought at the University of Western Sydney, and architectural and Australian history elsewhere. He continues to teach at the Centre of Continuing Education, and gives occasional lectures on topics ranging from Classical Rome through to Australian and contemporary art. Nick has lead tours for Academy Travel since 2007, and designs study tours, residential tours and art-focussed tours, such as the Venice Biennale, Art Along the Rhine, Art Basel, and Amsterdam to Paris: Van Eyck to Van Gogh.
Nick is also an artist and his firsthand experience of art complements his academic expertise, through his knowledge of materials and the processes behind how an artwork is made, and his well-practiced eye for reading art.
We asked Nick, what do you enjoy most about tour leading?
“One of the things I enjoy most about touring is helping people understand more about what they’re seeing. This happens through a combination of background lectures exploring different contexts, cultural commentary on the road, and especially by being able to explain what is going on in an artwork with the artwork in front of us.”
“The aim of all of this is to help people see more for themselves, independently, both on tour and beyond. Some of the best moments for me on tour are when this happens, and you get to be part of something bigger as people start adding their own knowledge and experience to what we’re looking at. It makes each experience unique.”
For the duration of the tour, we stay at the 5* Langham Hotel in Melbourne’s arts precinct, giving us easy access to major collections and performance venues, as well as fine dining on the Yarra waterfront. We have selected deluxe river view rooms, which have views across the Melbourne skyline.
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate, taxis or public transport are also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price?
Our tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity