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Thank you, David Walsh: The MONA experience

Thank you, David Walsh: The MONA experience

As I left the Museum of Old and New Art, cruising down the Derwent River in the sunshine, the first thought to cross my mind: even if the rest of Hobart is absolutely awful (thankfully, it had its highlights), this was totally worth it.

Exterior of MONA in Hobart, Tasmana on a sunny day

When’s the last time a museum left you feeling that fulfilled? Usually, I walk out of the doors of a museum, feeling satisfied that I completed my cultural requirement for the day (where’s the nearest sunny cafe?). Photo exhibits often inspire me, and I always enjoy exploring modern art museums. However, the MONA was an experience in itself.

Opened by gambler, entrepreneur and philanthropist–and millionaire–David Walsh in January 2011, the MONA is the largest private museum complex in Australia. The “adult Disneyland” features a waterfall that spits out words, a light installation that responds to viewers’ heartbeats, a sex and death gallery and several food, drink and accommodation options.

Lunch with a view at the MONA, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania

Walsh didn’t request any funding help because he wanted the museum to be entirely his vision. Entrance is free, and includes The O, an iPhone guide. There are no signs on the walls; instead, The O updates with information about the art surrounding you. It includes the obvious title, artist name and year–but it also has Walsh’s remarks about the piece, a related literary passage and/or an audio interview with the artist. Your complete tour is emailed to you after you leave the museum.

Located a 15-minute drive outside the city centre, the MONA–an architectural beauty in itself–perches on the riverfront. You can get to the MONA via a scenic ferry ride or bicycle ride: fun before you even get there.

Inside the MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania

Once you get inside: the beautiful, geometric, windowless interior of the MONA.

Inside the MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania

When I first saw this, I totally thought it was a child who had just had too much of forced museum time. After seeing it was named “Untitled (Stool for Guard)”, I had a good laugh with the guard on duty.

Heroin art in the MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania

Drug paraphernalia as art. Interview with the artist on The O was pure gold.

Art in the MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania

Damien Hirst Art in the MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania

Loved this colorful piece by Damien Hirst.Experience Utopia in the MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, TasmaniaAwesome interactive piece: as you walked through the exhibit, a “string” hooked on to you and then “junk” started piling onto you as well. Speaks to our massive consumer culture of things that just creates a waste that we can’t get rid of.

Water installation at the MONA, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania

Words made out of water droplets…simply brilliant.

Courtyard at the MONA, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania

The sunny courtyard outside the entrance of the MONA: still plenty of outdoor art and beautiful scenery.

Have you been to the MONA yet? What’s your favorite museum experience in the world? 

  • This looks really interesting! Especially the exhibit on the string getting attached and accummulating junk, and words made out of droplets of water. I also like it that the museum is free, despite having an audio guide and comments by the creator. Good stuff!

  • Very interesting museum.  I love the views and the modern art is definitely unique.  I am not a big fan of modern art but would be interesting in checking out MONA.

  • Anonymous

    It was definitely my favorite piece in the museum–I love it when art is not only interactive but thought-provoking!

  • Anonymous

    I love modern art, but there are definitely a few pieces here that push even my limits–thought provoking nonetheless! And the gorgeous natural setting is worth the trip anyway 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I love modern art, but there were definitely a few pieces that pushed even my limits–thought provoking nonetheless! The gorgeous natural setting definitely was worth it though.

  • Beautiful  photos. I’d love to go to the MONA when I’m in town one day. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    It’s worth making a trip to Hobart just for the MONA!

  • Asdfadsf

    Do you know the name of the artist who did the drug paraphernalia piece?

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