Lonely Planet review
Hidden away in the basement of Federation Square, the Ian Potter Centre is the other half of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), set up to showcase its impressive collection of Australian works. Set over three levels, it's a mix of permanent (free) and temporary (ticketed) exhibitions, comprising paintings, decorative arts, photography, prints, sculpture and fashion. There's also a great museum gift shop. Free tours are conducted daily at 11am, noon, 1pm & 2pm.
The Aboriginal permanent exhibition on the ground floor is stunning, and seeks to challenge ideas of the ‘authentic’. There are some particularly fine examples of Papunya painting, and interesting use of mediums from bark, didgeridoos to contemporary sculpture and dot paintings on canvas.
Upstairs there are permanent displays of colonial paintings such as Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts' famous Shearing the Rams . There’s also the work of the Heidelberg School impressionists and fabulous collection of the work of the modernist ‘Angry Penguins’, including Sir Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Joy Hester and Albert Tucker. Other prominent artists on display include Fred Williams, John Brack and Howard Arkley.