During a recent trip to Tasmania I visited a museum that is known as MONA just outside Hobart, which translated stands for the Museum of Old and New Art and speaking as one who has been to modern art museums all over the world, I have to say that this one is probably the best by a heck of a long way.
But I actually found this to be a pleasant change, as to be honest, I had never heard of any of the artists whose work is in this incredible collection, which meant I was able to approach them without any preconceptions, which I found a very liberating experience. I was thus able to judge each piece simply on how it effected me, and not be influenced by any baggage caused by knowledge of the artist concerned.
And what makes it even more amazing is the setting of this museum, which basically is all underground. If you follow the link I shall be placing below, you will see what I mean about both the art in the collection, and the amazing setting too.
All that you see when you approach the front door of this museum is a low and rather unimpressive building of no great architectural value, but once you get inside this building and discover where the actual museum is placed, it dawns on you that you are about to have a serious experience.
There are four floors to this museum, the first being on the ground level, the other three being below ground. Basically what it is is a huge hole dug in the solid sandstone that the ground is made up of, so as you will see in the video, the walls are simply beautifully carved sandstone.
The actual exhibition is spread all over these three underground floors in a very complex fashion, causing one to go up and down between levels, many of the actual ¨rooms¨ are in a series of black rooms that are interjoined in complicated ways, so wandering around is an experience in itself.
I shan’t discuss the works on show too much, as the video shows a good selection of them, and gives a very good idea of how and with what the museum is made up of. Also I can recommend that you read the text, as it also gives a very good idea of the atmosphere of this highly irreverent museum.
The sign that you will see that says GOD, is the parking place of the Director of the museum, and next to it is a sign saying GOD´Ś MISTRESS, which is the parking space for the woman who is actually his wife, and one of the main curators of the museum… This sort of sets the tone of this museum.
All good fun in fact.
I was totally exhausted by the time I left, having arrived at about 9 am and left at 3 pm, a very intense experience.
Here is the link I mentioned, I highly recommend watching it as it gives a truly good impression of the place, and is fascinating too. Link: https://mona.net.au/museum/introduction
To avoid confusion, you simply need to scroll down to see all that it has to offer…….
I also took the time out to eat a very good meal in one of the restaurants there, delicious food well served and goodly in quantity.
The other thing that was remarkable about this day was how I actually got to the museum, I went on a gigantic motorised catamaran, painted for some enigmatic reason in naval dazzle camouflage colours. A pleasant way to get from the centre of Hobart to the rather distant museum.