Wednesday, July 31, 2013

[ a visit to MONA ]

Have you ever heard of MONA? Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania? If you are not living in Australia I would dare to say you probably haven't! (Please proof me wrong though!!). It is one of the most controversial and talked about museum projects here in Australia.

It is the playground of its founder David Walsh, a professional gambler, and is privatley owned. His own collection is on display - mixing old art (think eqyptian sarcophagus) and new art (think modern art installations) together in one amazing underground museum. He describes the museum as a 'subversive adult Disneyland'.

The museum has been built into the cliffs of the Moorilla estate (active winery) on the outskirts of Hobart, Tasmania. The architecture is absolutely breathtaking and one of the biggest drawcards of the museum - I loved it. It is all underground with meter high sandstone walls, mainly keep in dark with the best lighting concept I have ever seen (as a store designer I take notice of stuff like that - haha).

Wikipedia tells me that the museum houses over 400 artistic works owned by Walsh plus changing exhibitions with curated art from all over the world. There are some pretty confronting and shocking things on display, others plainly weird and rarely what I would call beautiful. But that is what makes the museum to what it is and the marketing team clearly knows how to use this as a sellingpoint.

I have been to the museum twice - once during our Tasmanian holiday back in January and now again during a brief business trip down to Hobart. Its a crazy place, but I do like it! Especially the wonderful cheese platter and wine from the estate afterwards in the Wine Bar. Best ever!

As it is quite dark throughout the museum, it is not that easy to take pictures - apologies!

The shots above I took during my first visit in January, most of the installations from back then have been swapped with new ones and cannot be seen anymore.

[1]   "Snake" by Sidney Nolan - first ever public display - it was huge!
[2]   "Death Gallery" - only two people are allowed inside at the same time. Not going to tell more.
[3]   "Cloaca Professional" by Wim Delvoye - a machine that turns food into... well, poo... mmh...
[4]   Word wall made by water - displaying most popluar words from Australian newspapers
[5]   A big head with crazy strobe lights inside
[6]   Skull with bird in mouth and covered with colourful bugs
[7]   Entrance to the x-rated section of the museum - some pretty freaky stuff

And some more shots I took during my visit 2 weeks ago.

[1]   Buddha cast and Buddha made of real incense ash from China - its slowly falling apart! Love it!
[3]   Installation by Anselm Kiefer in a pavillion connected via a long dark tunnel
[4]   No idea what that is - art using ropes creating forms?
[5]   A huge wall covered with LED screens visualising data by Ryoji Ikeda - so noisy!
[6]   Dark rooms that are too dark to take pictures
[7]   That is a possum skull covered in dead bugs with dead bees all around. Weid? Yes!
[8]   Finally a piece of painted art - no idea who the artist is though!

It really is an artistic wonderland but I think many people actually dislike what they see. It is so different, confronting, real, powerful, disgusting, surprising at the same time that it is hard to take for many. I really dislike many of the installations / art pieces with all my heart and would never call them "art" but plain bulls*** - I have not included pictures of those pieces as didn't want to offend anybody. Some pretty hardcore stuff.

In case you ever come to Tasmania and Hobart (not that the chances are that high) you definitely have to visit MONA though. It is only $20 to get in, you can take a cool ferry from the harbour up the river to the museum (another $20 for the round-trip), have a good time exploring the museum - you will have stuff to talk about over the cheese platter afterwards for sure!!

Whats your favorite museum? Are you into modern art? *K


  1. Wow - never heard of a museum like this! I really wanted to visit Damien Hirst's last exhibition (controversial butterfly room included) at the Tate in London but didn't make it over. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Would love to visit a Damien Hirst exhibition! Have read about the exhibtion at Tate - must have been crazy!! :)

  2. Hi Kristina - great pics as always :-). I loved the wine and cheese at the wine bar too! I don't know about you but for me MONA is not just about the art. I felt like it was a total 'experience', from the MONA boat to the dramatic entrance, the architecture/interior then the wine bar afterwards (the Source was probably amazing too but it was booked out when we went, so we lunched at the wine bar and so glad we did, it was great!). The art is definitely a mixed bag, and I feel like the more controversial pieces are really there to shock and create a talking point rather than please (like a certain smelly machine...!).

    1. That smelly machine? Gosh, it still amazes me with what some artist come up!! And you are right, it is definitely about the whole experience and not just about the art!

  3. Gosh, I REALLY need to get to Australia. This museum will be high on my list!

  4. Such beautiful pictures! :)

  5. Just another reason I regret not getting to Tasmania. But I think you've been in Australia too long if you can say, "It's only $20 to get in..." ;)

    1. Haha Jill, had to laugh after reading your comment! You are right, after Switzerland and now Australia I can't be shocked by any prices anymore :)

  6. I'm not a huge modern art fan because it ususally goes right iver my head, but this museum looks amazing! I really like how strange the pieces are.

    A Golden State of Mind

  7. I had never heard of MONA but I'm certainly intrigued. It sounds like quite an experience and I'm sure it gave you a lot to talk about afterwards.

  8. Really great, well written and some great pic,,,

  9. it is amazing..I would love to visit it..unfortunatly I am a little far ..but this museum makes me wish even more to visit Tasmania..tahanks for sharing!


Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!
If you have any question, please drop me a note at

Have a look at

Related Posts with Thumbnails