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.
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.
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.
Once you get inside: the beautiful, geometric, windowless interior of the MONA.
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.
Drug paraphernalia as art. Interview with the artist on The O was pure gold.
Loved this colorful piece by Damien Hirst.Awesome 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.
Words made out of water droplets…simply brilliant.
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?