On our last evening on this trip to Tasmania and Australia, we joined a small group for a privately guided visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) followed by a delicious dinner in the museum’s restaurant and terraces. We arrived at the museum on the peninsula after a 45-minute “ferry ride” on a private catamaran up the Derwent River from Hobart to the museum’s jetty. “The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is an art museum located within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. It is the largest privately funded museum in Australia. The museum presents antiquities and modern and contemporary art from the David Walsh collection. Walsh has described the museum as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland.’ MONA was officially opened on 21 January 2011. Along with its frequently updated indoor collection, MONA also hosts the annual MOFO and Dark Mofo festivals which showcase large-scale public art and live performances.” – Wikipedia. This is a museum unlike any other in the world – easily described as an eccentric super-wealthy gambler’s tribute to himself and his explorations of “who he is” and “what is art”. Many visitors are shocked with the erotic and sexual nature of much of the art [which we have chosen not to include in our photographs on this blog post], and surprised to find such an eclectic mix of historical and classical art (from around the world) with many “challenging” modern art pieces.
“Mona is one man’s ‘megaphone’ as he put it at the outset: and what he wants to say almost invariably revolves around the place of art and creativity within the definition of humanity. We know that sounds lofty, self-important. But we must be honest with you: our goal is no more, nor less, than to ask what art is, and what makes us look and look at it with ceaseless curiosity. We don’t have the answer yet. Maybe when we do, that will be the end of Mona. Bye bye Mona…
“Mona’s ambition (with only modest success, given that most people just want to take pictures of bit.fall) is to understand how narrow, how partial, our view is of the world. To see clearly, we argue, you have to first know the limits of your vision. To quote Socrates: ‘The smartest people know how dumb they are.’ Okay, what he really said was: ‘I know one thing: that I know nothing.’” – mona.net.au
“[It] begins as soon as you get there. If you arrive by jetty you come up those stairs thinking you’ll get somewhere momentous, but then you get to the top and turn around and there’s just this small house. Then you go in, and go down a heap more stairs. A big space. ‘Wow, I didn’t know it was going to be so big.’ Still no art.” — James Pearce, Director of Architecture, MONA
Interested readers should check out the museum’s website:
to explore some of the architecture, the collection and the biography of founder and chief curator David Walsh.