Living in Hobart… continues on with MONA

Continues on from my last post on Living in Hobart, I went to see my GP in South Hobart for a regular check up this morning. Had my blood pressure taken. That was good. But, what about my occurring dizzy spell?? My record showed the last visit was two years ago. Time for another blood test for full blood count; electrolytes, urea and creatinine; glucose; lipids – chol, trig, hdl and ldl; liver function test; prostatic specific antigen. Gasp! That is a long list. Probably need three tubes of blood. Thanks, Doc!

Hobart is a tiny city in comparison to the smallest capital city in mainland Australia; which is….Darwin or is it Adelaide? According to Wiki Answer, it is Darwin in population, but not size. So which really is the smallest capital city in mainland Australia? Someone please. I have never been to Darwin or Perth, the only two capital city in Australia. But I believe I can safely argue that Hobart even though is the smallest capital city in Australia, it can easily rival the other bigger capital cities to claim the top spot in having the most interesting and incredible art museum in Australia, with some of the most quirky and shocking art displays I have ever seen. They are shown to be shocked! I mean, would you consider a “shite making machine” or some huge animal carcasses of raw meat hanging as Art? You can even smell the raw meat and dripping blood fat on the floor! But that is exactly what we have got here in Hobart. A new art museum privately owned by a local Tasmanian self made millionaire, David Walsh. He used his own money to create his dreamwork reportedly costing him over $100 million to excavate the rocks at the cliffside of his vineyard estate, Moorilla Estate.

Moorilla has become one of the most important destination in Hobart. A must for every visitors to the state of Tasmania. You can stay there. You can dine and wine there. You can visit the brewery and sample their wines and signature beer, Moo Brew. You can visit the museum (and I will come back to this later). You can take the ferry from Hobart waterfront sailing up the Derwent River with spectacular views of Hobart city and northern suburbs with Mt Wellington rising majestically in the background.

Now back to the museum – MONA – Museum of Old and New Art. It took three years to build – blasting and digging into the cliff, creating several floors deep in the ground. It was officially opened on 22 January 2011, coincided with the finale of FOMA – Festival of Music and Art that I have previously posted. We managed to stay away on the weekend opening. My partner and I went on the second weekend. The anticipation was too much to bear and wait any longer. We had to go. We had to be one of the first few thousands to see what was build up as the most exciting and different art museum in Australia. Best of all, there is no entrance free, and a handheld touch screen self guided device (similar to a smart phone) and a headphone were provided free to us. The handheld touch screen is really “smart” and clever. On a touch, it told us our exact location and displayed an icon of each of the art pieces around the exact location. I could scroll up or down to the exact art piece that I was looking at. Select an icon to get a description of the artwork, or another icon to read David Walsh’s own words of his collection.

Another unique thing about MONA is that there were lots of staff on every rooms of the museum ready to help the visitors. Not that we need any help since we had the smart touch screen and headphone. But at one point, I was told not take a photo with the flash on. But, yes you can take photos in the museum as long as it is without a flash. That is different. Most museum will have a No Camera sign at the entrance. But MONA is camera friendly, and baby pram friendly! There were parents with crying young kids. David built his museum for all walk of life. There were people there who have never step foot in an art museum before. It was interesting to see the diversity of the crowd, and not limited to art lovers only.

The building itself is a masterpiece creation. It is different. It is unique. It is world class. As we entered the main entrance, we were offered the smart touch screen and headphone. The staff explained how to use the smart touch screen device. We were told to take our time and to start from the lowest floor and make our way up. We descended down a glass and stainless steel spiral staircase several floors down. As I stepped down the spiral staircase, I began to wonder what I will see and discover at the bottom. Each step leads to more curiosity running through my mind. Finally I reached the last step, which opens up to a long corridor fronted by sandstone walls and polished concrete floor with solemn dim down lightings. It was stunning and incredible, unlike anything I have ever seen. And, this is Hobart. Not New York. Not London. Not Paris. And, certainly not Sydney or Melbourne. But Hobart. Thanks David Walsh for creating this wonderful masterpiece in Hobart for all to enjoy.

The main entrance hallway on Basement 3 (lowest floor)

bit.fall 2006-7 by Julius Popp

Great visual display raining of letters against the sandstone walls as backdrop. I love the sound of the gushing water and appearing and disappearing of letters

A human stool. Very eerie indeed. Like something that came out from an art cult Japanese horror movie. Imagine having this piece in your lounge room and one night you happen to stumble on it with lights switched off! Spooky indeed. It gave me the chill each time I looked at it.

A bunch of hanging dead carcasses meat and a “shite” making machine. The last picture actually has a piece of “shite” coming out at the end of the assembly shite making machine line.

Now who would have thought this is Art??

This has to be my favourite – Sidney Nolan’s Snake, 1,620 frames. It is huge!

and, definitely not the wall of human casted vagina!

The surrounding view is as stunning and incredible. Walking back to our parked car

MONA – it is a place to be seen to believe.

Don’t miss it.

David build it for everyone to enjoy and share his passion for Art.

You don’t have to be an art lover to appreciate his eclectic collections from all over the world.

8 responses to “Living in Hobart… continues on with MONA

  1. Why does everyone feel the need to be ‘controversial’ all this meat ‘n’ shit has been done to death, it’s boring, unoriginal and uninspiring. Whatever happened to great portraits, landscapes, still art etc.. I think a butcher who can perfectly french a rack of lamb is more of an artist than these talentless hacks. Am I creating art every time I go to the toilet? I’m sure there’s something good at MONA it’s just a shame that the rest is in there.
    Maybe I’m wrong could someone explain to me how hanging meat is art? Rembrandt’s Carcass of Beef is art. This is just my opinion, that is all.

    • Hey Anon420 – great to hear your view and what you would consider worthy as the traditional art. I am not an art person, but happy to go along for the experience and appreciation of what one can achieve in life, which most of us can only watch in envy. Mind you, I am not referring to making shit or hanging carcasses.

      Hopefully someone else reading your comment will be happy to explain to you why MONA has venture beyond the boundary of what someone would consider as “art” worth displaying to the public.

  2. Anon,

    I can appreciate the sentiments. I guess it all comes down to an individual’s personal perspective on what “art” is meant to “achieve” or what purpose it serves.

    I think your criticism is fair that a lot of it simply sets out to be controverislal just for controvery’s sake.

    There is no shortage of that on display at MONA.

    On the other hand, there is the view that art should confront us and challenge our preconceived ideas of what art should be about.

    The shit machine for example, while clearly disgusting, proves that it’s possible to create excrement without what we would tradionally regard as a human being or animal involved.

    Therefore raising a number of questions for the viewer to contemplate.

    Alternatively, you could just dismiss it as “a pile of shit” and you would be equally correct in doing so.

    That’s art!

  3. The “wall of vaginas” on the other hand, I simply dismissed as just being a plaster cast “pack of c**ts”.

    But that’s just me…

  4. Lol, that’s quiet a collection. I don’t see that as Art at all, maybe I’m missing something here.

  5. Why is the dark room such a secret ?

  6. So it’s possible to create sh1t without an animal’s digestive system being involved. So what?
    Most modern art that tries to be controversial just bores me half to death. It has nothing of any consequence to say.
    Also, these modern art pieces usually need a massive paragraph stuck on the wall for the artist to explain what the “artwork” means. Why can’t the art speak for itself? Because, ultimately, the artist and the art has nothing to say.

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