Last weekend saw the anticipated public opening of the privately owned and funded Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania. The museum consists of a vast antiquities collection currently on display alongside a collection of new art, most of which is very recent. There are some works, however, that we would consider as 20th Century art; works, for example, by Robin Boyd and Sydney Nolan.
The whole collection is the property of David Walsh. A much-publicised figure of late, Walsh is said to have made his fortune in gambling. Not gambling services, but actual gambling – he is a maths wizard.
The opening on Friday started with a viewing of the museum, which is cut three stories deep into the peninsular cliff face, where MONA sits alongside vineyards and breweries, all of which are part of the same complex. The museum itself is an incredible series of interweaving galleries. The concrete beams and spotlit works in the darkness echo a little of the war room in Stanley Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove. The work on display is a full range, from very young local artists to works by the likes of Erwin Wurm and Anselm Kiefer that I’m not too sure how you would buy even if you had the money.
The evening finished with a public concert that included English rock band, Wire, and locals the Cruel Sea, out on a purpose-built main stage, as well as a performance by Roman Signer of a Ferrari crashing into a concrete wall.
The gallery is now open to the public and is putting Hobart on the art map. We think it’s a great spot to visit for a weekend away.
Here's a clip the ABC have put together on David Walsh taking their arts presenter, Andrew Frost, on a tour of the gallery.