Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)
Established1983; 41 years ago (1983)
Location111 Sturt Street, Southbank, Victoria, Australia
Coordinates37°49′35″S 144°58′01″E / 37.826497°S 144.967014°E / -37.826497; 144.967014
TypeContemporary art museum
Artistic director & CEOMax Delany
ChairpersonJohn Denton

The Australian Centre For Contemporary Art (ACCA) is a contemporary art gallery in Melbourne, Australia. The gallery is located on Sturt Street in the Melbourne Arts Precinct, in the inner suburb of Southbank. Designed by Wood Marsh Architects, the building was completed in 2002, and includes facilities for Chunky Move dance company and the Malthouse Theatre.

Max Delany has been Artistic Director and CEO of the centre since 2015.


The centre was established in 1983, and moved into its current home in 2002.[1]

In December 2015, Max Delany, formerly senior curator of contemporary art at the National Gallery of Victoria, was announced as the new artistic director of ACCA, replacing the outgoing artistic director Juliana Engberg.[2] He commenced the role of AD and CEO in February 2016.[3]


Main entrance

The ACCA building was designed by Wood Marsh and completed in 2002. It consists of four large gallery spaces, and together with the Malthouse and ACCA form a courtyard at the centre of the complex which is used as an outside performance and exhibition space. The building also includes two rehearsal studios and an administration facilities for dance company Chunky Move as well as a large set construction facility for the Malthouse.[4]

Openings in the distinctive rusty steel façade are kept to a minimum to support a broad array of installations, temporary and digitally projected work, which contrasts with the inter-pressed metal and glass surfaces in the interior. The design references the European model of the Kunsthalle, acting as a flexible shell for the display of art.[4]

The building won the RAIA Institutional Architecture Award in 2003.[5]


Main article: Vault (sculpture)

Following the completion of construction, the sculpture Vault, an abstract, minimalist sculpture made of large thick flat polygonal sheets of prefabricated steel by Ron Robertson-Swann, was relocated to the building's forecourt, where it remains today. It is popularly known as The Yellow Peril, due to its colour, modernist shape, cost, and controversy in the newspapers at the time of its placement.[6]

The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. The Vault sculpture can be seen far left and the Malthouse Theatre is on the right.

Description and governance

ACCA's stated mission is to "Do Art Differently – to challenge, connect and resonate".[1]

Max Delaney is as of 2021 artistic director and CEO of the centre, while Claire Richardson is executive director. John Denton, the Victorian Governments first state architect, is chair of the board.[3]

ACCA is a member of the advocacy organisation Contemporary Art Organisations Australia.[7]


In its first decade, ACCA had already commissioned over 200 new works by both Australian and International Artists. Every year ACCA commissions six or seven new Australian artists for exhibition. Featured Australian artists have included Pat Brassington, Patricia Piccinini, alongside international artists such as Martin Creed, Barbara Kruger, Tacita Dean, Jenny Holzer and Joseph Kosuth. ACCA also presents many thematic exhibitions, as well as public art through initiatives such as the Big Wall project.[citation needed]

A survey exhibition of 15 years of works by Paul Yore, titled WORD MADE FLESH, was held from September to November 2022.[8][9]

Lecture series

In 2019 a two-year lecture series entitled Defining Moments: Australian Exhibition Histories 1968–1999 was launched, intended to "take a deeper look at the moments that have shaped Australian art since 1968... the game changers in Australian art... addressing key contemporary art exhibitions staged over the last three decades of the twentieth century", and examining how they have affected art history and, more broadly, Australian culture in the 21st century.[10]

In 2020, former director of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Mikala Tai talked about the founding of Gallery 4A, the inaugural exhibition in 1997, and its impact on contemporary art discourse.[10] Former director of the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane and artist Peter Cripps co-presented Recession art and other strategies, referring to the name of a 1985 exhibition at the IMA.[11]


  1. ^ a b "About". Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  2. ^ Cuthbertson, Debbie (18 December 2015). "National Gallery of Victoria curator Max Delany appointed director of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  3. ^ a b "People". Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Flashback: Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) / Wood/Marsh". ArchDaily. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  5. ^ "Australian Institute of Architecture". Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  6. ^ "Peril in the Square: The Sculpture that Challenged a City". The Age. 19 June 2004. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  7. ^ "About". Contemporary Arts Organisations Australia. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Paul Yore: WORD MADE FLESH". Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  9. ^ Shiels, Julie (6 October 2022). "Paul Yore: the uncompromising Australian artist riotously tackling queer culture, corporate greed and hyperconsumption". The Conversation. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  10. ^ a b Tai, Mikala (26 October 2020). "Defining Moments: Founding of Gallery 4A" (Podcast + text). Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Lecture titled Founding of Gallery 4A and the inaugural exhibition in 1997, given by Mikala Tai. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Defining Moments: Recession art and other strategies, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 1985". A Rich Life. Lecture series, "Defining Moments: Australian Exhibition Histories 1968-1999’". 17 July 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2022.