“The largest and most ambitious exhibition in the NGV’s 152-year history.”

That’s how the gallery billed its original Melbourne Now exhibition in 2013. The summer blockbuster featured more than 250 works – many of them new commissions – by leading local contemporary artists.

Next year, a decade on, the groundbreaking exhibition is getting a sequel.

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From March 24 to August 20 at NGV Australia’s Ian Potter Centre, the second instalment of Melbourne Now will bring together more than 200 Victorian artists and designers – plus studios and firms – who have woven themselves into our cultural fabric.

“[It] offers an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on how Melbourne and Victoria have transformed, changed and grown over the past decade,” NGV director Tony Ellwood said in a statement. “No other exhibition series reflects Victorian life and culture with such depth, nuance and breadth. We are excited to build upon this incredible legacy with this new, blockbuster presentation of Victorian creativity.”

Among the artists are Christian Thompson, who has taken London by storm and worked with legendary performance artist Marina Abramović; Esther Stewart, known for her geometrical paintings and installations, and for winning the 2016 Sir John Sulman Prize; and South Sudanese artist and writer Atong Atem. Also part of the cohort is Kait James, Pitcha Makin Fellas, Layla Vardo, Nicholas Mangan, Fiona Abicare, Meagan Streader, Sean Hogan, Amos Gebhardt and Lisa Reid.

Hundreds of works will take over the entire Ian Potter Centre – including 60 world premieres and pieces from artists exhibiting at the NGV for the first time. And the exhibition will really run the gamut of mediums and media: fashion and jewellery; painting, sculpture and ceramics; photography, video and virtual reality; and performance.

“Ranging from large-scale, never-before-seen commissions through to moments of quiet reflection and contemplation, this exhibition highlights the diverse talents of Victorian artists and designers,” Ellwood added.

There’ll be a neon-lit temple of computer fans by multidisciplinary artist Rel Pham – drawing on his Vietnamese heritage and interest in gaming – which will fill an entire room; and Walkers with Dinosaurs, 2021–23, Lou Hubbard’s collection of inflatable walking frames that will cascade into the foyer of the Ian Potter Centre’s third floor. Other highlights include a selection of hand-painted paper lanterns by Larrakia/Wardaman/Karajarri artist Jenna Lee; an ultraviolet, participatory part-playground, part-photobooth by James Lemon, which encourages you to learn about the fragility of bee life; and a selection of powder-pink gates, which asks: who are our society’s gatekeepers?

Plus, the NGV’s giant “design wall” will return, filled with Melbourne-made products from 23 local studios; think guitars, ladders, pillows, luggage and even motorbikes.

Melbourne Now will run from March 24 to August 20, 2023, at NGV Australia’s Ian Potter Centre. Entry will be free.

ngv.vic.gov.au