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The Melbourne Art Foundation Commission provides a living artist with a significant opportunity to realise a large-scale work for unveiling at Melbourne Art Fair. 

Previous partners in the program include institutions NGV, QAGOMA, the University of Queensland Art Museum, MCA, Art Gallery of South Australia, and the National Gallery of Australia; and artists such as Michael Parekowhai, David Griggs, Peter Hennessey, Jon Campbell, Ian Burns, and Mika Dwyer.

The 2018 Commission by Bendigo Art Gallery in partnership with the Melbourne Art Foundation and supported by Artwork Transport, has been awarded to prominent New Zealand born, Melbourne-based artist Ronnie van Hout. Commissioned for the first time in partnership with a regional Victorian institution, the ambitious large-scale work will be unveiled and exhibited at Melbourne Art Fair before moving to its permanent home at Bendigo Art Gallery.

Ronnie van Hout is represented by STATION (Melbourne) and Darren Knight Gallery (Sydney).

Image: Ronnie van Hout, Crawling Figure, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and STATION, Melbourne. Artist is represented by STATION (Melbourne) and Darren Knight Gallery (Sydney) 


The Melbourne Art Foundation Awards for the Visual Arts is a biennial event that has, since 2005, celebrated excellence and outstanding contributions to the Australian visual arts sector.  The next Awards will take place during Melbourne Art Week, Saturday 4 August 2018 at ACCA.


Young Artist Award
In 2015, Melbourne Art Foundation introduced an accolade for a young artist. The Young Artist Award is bestowed on an artist under 35 and seeks to support the next generation of artistic practice with an international residency.

Residencies offer a unique opportunity for cross cultural engagement and artistic mobility enabling artists the opportunity to extend themselves in different cultural environments.

The 2018 Young Artist Award is supported by Artwork Transport

Past Recipients:
2015 Daniel Boyd


Artist Award
The Artist Award recognises the outstanding achievement of an Australian artist for a comprehensive body of work.

Past Recipients:
2015 Bill Henson
2014 Patricia Piccinini
2011 Fiona Hall


Visionary Award
The Visionary Award recognises the exceptional contribution of individuals and their demonstrated commitment to progressing the status of contemporary Australian art nationally and beyond.

Past Recipients:
2015 John Kaldor AM
2014 Peter Clemenger & Joan Clemenger
2011 Marc Besen AO & Eva Besen AO
2009 Ann Lewis AO
2007 Gordon Darling AC, CMG & Marilyn Darling AC
2005 James Mollison AO

Project Rooms

The Project Rooms create an opportunity for cutting edge art spaces to present innovative and experimental work within the context of a major international visual arts event. Initiated in 2002, Project Rooms form the curated non-commercial component of Melbourne Art Fair, to be celebrated by industry and public.

This year, Project Rooms is presented by Four Pillars and includes the Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane), The Physics Room (Christchurch), Gertrude Contemporary (Melbourne).


The Melbourne Art Week Keynote is co-presented by the University of Melbourne and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, and supported by Fed Square. 

Philip Tinari, Director of Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing

Prior to joining UCCA, Tinari launched LEAP, an internationally distributed, bilingual magazine of contemporary art published by the Modern Media Group, in 2009. He is a contributing editor of Artforum, and was founding editor of that magazine’s Chinese edition in 2007. Widely regarded as an authority on China’s contemporary art scene, he was co-curator, with Alexandra Munroe and Hou Hanru, of the 2017 exhibition “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. 

Keynote | FREE | Tuesday 31 July 2018 6.30pm | Deakin Edge, Fed Square | Registration opens March 2018


Presented in association with the University of Melbourne, Learning Partner of Melbourne Art Week, Talks promotes discussion, education and interest in contemporary art practice in Australia and the Asia Pacific region, and will include interviews, talks and panels with a range of speakers including artists, curators, collectors and critics covering topics and issues relevant to the global art market. 

Talks 2018 is centered on the theme, Space of Friendship.

Talks takes place Thursday 2 – Sunday 5 August 2018 at Federation Gall, Grant Street, Southbank, University of Melbourne Faculty of VCA and MCM (opposite Melbourne Art Fair). The program is free to attend. Registration essential.

Curatorial Committee

Su Baker

Su Baker is an artist and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) at the University of Melbourne. She has more than twenty-five years’ experience in teaching, research and senior management accrued at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, and most recently, Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) where she was ten years, Head of the School of Art, and seven years, Director of the VCA. She is President of the Australian Council of Deans and Directors of Creative Arts, and previously has been Chair of the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (2004–08). Su is Chair of the Sturt Street Arts Precinct Forum and Editor in Chief of Art + Australia, the journal having been recently donated to the VCA by Eleonora Triguboff.

Prof Nikos Papastergiadis

Nikos Papastergiadis is the Director of the Research Unit in Public Cultures, based at The University of Melbourne. He is a Professor in the School of Culture and Communication at The University of Melbourne and founder – with Scott McQuire – of the Spatial Aesthetics research cluster. He is Project Leader of the Australian Research Council Linkage Project, ‘Large Screens and the Transnational Public Sphere’, and Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Project ‘Public Screens and the Transformation of Public Space’.

He was educated at The University of Melbourne and the University of Cambridge. Prior to joining the School of Culture and Communication, he was Deputy Director of the Australia Centre at the University of Melbourne, Head of the Centre for Ideas at the Victorian College of Arts, and lecturer in Sociology and recipient of the Simon Fellowship at the University of Manchester.

Natalie King

Natalie King is an Australian curator and arts leader with more than 20 years experience in international contemporary art realising landmark projects in Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam. Current roles include curator of Tracey Moffatt: My Horizon, Australian Pavilion at 57th Venice Biennale, 2017 and senior research fellow, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. Recent projects include chief curator, Melbourne Biennial Lab: ‘What happens now?’ with City of Melbourne at Melbourne Festival 2016; Conversations, National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta; Whisper in My Mask: TarraWarra Biennial 2014 and the 13th Dong Gang International Photo Festival, Korea. Natalie has curated exhibitions for the Singapore Art Museum; the National Museum of Art, Osaka; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. She has edited numerous publications and is a Member of the International Association of Art Critics, Paris.

(Note profile photo credit: Kate Ballis)

Mikala Tai

Mikala Tai is the director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney. As a curator, researcher, and academic specializing in contemporary Asian art, she has collaborated with local, national, and international organizations to strengthen ties between Australia and Asia. Her curatorial projects at 4A include “Before the Rain” (2017); “I don’t want to be there when it happens” (cocurated with Kate Warren and expanded at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts with Eugenio Viola, 2017); and “Jogja Calling” (2016). She received critical acclaim for her organization of the performance program at Art Central Hong Kong (2016 and 2017). Her independent curatorial projects include “Abdullah M.I. Syed: Diving Economy—Structures” (Aicon Gallery, New York, 2017), “Closing the Gap: Contemporary Indonesian Art” (Melbourne Intercultural Fine Art, 2011), and “Yang Yongliang: On the Quiet Water” (Fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne, 2009). Tai has taught at Monash University, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), and the University of Melbourne in both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. 

Dr Meredith Martin

Dr Meredith Martin is Associate Director Cultural and Public Engagement in Chancellery at the Universtiy of Melbourne. She supports the Pro Vice Chancellor Engagement in the development of the University’s cultural strategy and has carriage of the University’s enterprise wide cultural partnerships. Meredith’s doctoral work focused on the intersection of creative industries and social inclusion discourses in the UK. She was a postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Australian Research Council funded Linkage Project, Large Screens and the Transnational Public Sphere. Meredith was an Asialink Leaders Program fellow in 2016.

Prof Claire Roberts

Dr Claire Roberts is an historian of Chinese art and a curator specialising in modern and contemporary Chinese art, and cultural flows between China and Australia. She is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow and Associate Professor of Art History in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. She was previously Senior Curator of Asian decorative arts and design at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Her exhibitions include Yang Zhichao: Chinese Bible 1949-1999 (2015), Go Figure! Contemporary Chinese Portraiture (2012), Other Histories: Guan Wei’s Fable for a Contemporary World (2006) and The Great Wall of China (2006). Her most recent books include Photography and China (2013). Claire’s current ARC research project ‘Reconfiguring the World. China. Art. Agency 1900s to Now’ focuses on the international context of modern and contemporary Chinese art.

(Note profile photo credit: Lauren Grantham)

Dr Sean Lowry

Dr. Sean Lowry is a Melbourne-based artist and writer. He holds a PhD in Visual Arts from The University of Sydney, and is currently Head of Critical and Theoretical Studies in Art at Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. Lowry has exhibited and performed extensively both nationally and internationally, and his published writing appears in numerous journals and edited volumes. His conceptually driven practice employs strategies of concealment, subliminal quotation, erasure, remediation and intermedial expansion to explore the outermost limits of the world of a work of art. He is also Founder and Executive Director of Project Anywhere (, and one half (with Ilmar Taimre) of The Ghosts of Nothing (

Prof Charles Green

Charles Green is Professor of Contemporary Art in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. He has written Peripheral Vision: Contemporary Australian Art 1970-94 (Craftsman House, Sydney, 1995), The Third Hand: Artist Collaborations from Conceptualism to Postmodernism (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2001), and (with Anthony Gardner) Biennials, Triennials, and documenta (Boston, Wiley-Blackwell, 2016). He was Australian correspondent for Artforum for many years. As Adjunct Senior Curator in Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria, he worked as a curator on Fieldwork: Australian Art 1968-2002 (2002), world rush_4 artists (2003), 2004: Australian Visual Culture Now (ACMI/NGVA, 2004), and 2006 Contemporary Commonwealth (ACMI/NGVA, 2006). He is also an artist who has worked collaboratively with Lyndell Brown since 1989; they were Australia’s Official War Artists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Learning Partner