In a month’s time, Mona will launch its new exhibition, ZERO, alongside a weekend of celebratory talking, thinking and indulging in Hobart.

In the vast tangle of art movements, genres and styles that came to dominate mid-20th century art, a movement designed to act as a reset button bubbled up in Germany in the 1950s. Zero, which lasted into the ’60s, represented a new beginning: an artistic restart. It was a response to abstract expressionism and the colour and emotion those artists propagated.

Zero artists cut and burned canvasses and hammered nails into household appliances in the pursuit of something new. It was optimistic, open, collaborative and irreverent, built on nothing and everything, and it disbanded in a puff of smoke after less than a decade. Dramatic, yes, but what would Mona be without a disproportionate sense of drama?

ZERO opens on June 9 and features work by all the key exponents of this mid-century art movement as well as related figures including Marcel Duchamp and Yves Klein. It’s angular, odd and striking stuff.

The exhibition opens in dramatic style on Saturday June 9 with a spectacular launch party featuring indomitable space-jazz veterans Sun Ra Arkestra and Electric string quartet FourPlay. Visitors will get to see new artworks by James Turrell, Cameron Robbins and Charles Ross. Expect a night of Mona-esque bursts of fire, feasts, extreme art and indulgence.

Mona will then host three days and nights of events in a rousing prelude weekend to Dark Mofo, which launches a week later.

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Problems facing Australia and the world will be discussed in the event Dark + Dangerous Thoughts at the Odeon Theatre, which will present a series of panels taking on Indigenous incarceration, animal rights, religious freedom, jihad, death and taxes. David Walsh – the founder of Mona – will moderate the panel Ideas Worth Dying For and the session titled Extreme Free Speech, which asks whether words can be equated with violence. Another panel is called Should the Church Be Saved? Veteran journalist Peter Greste will interview Manwar Ali, a former Jihadist who spent 15 years radicalising and recruiting people for violent Jihad, fundraising for the cause, and fighting in Afghanistan, Kashmir and Burma before he became an activist and educator promoting peace.

You’re also invited to get into a pool and swim the distance between Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, and Australia as part of Landing by Artist Tanya Lee. BYO Speedos.

Make time for a series of movie screenings that includes the recently released, controversial and brilliant mashup film Terror Nullius by Soda_Jerk. Politicians, racists and misogynists all cop a brutal beating in this savage, surreal and very, very Australian film. Focusing on the life of Inuits in the Canadian Arctic, Nanook of the North (1922) is an early documentary with a problematic approach to the truth. Director Robert J Flaherty staged large parts of it to make his subjects more charmingly exotic and naive. A live score by Tanya Tagaq, a Canadian First Nations artist, whose music merges punk, metal and electronica, will accompany the screening.

And as part of the Dark Mofo Prelude weekend activities, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is showing A Journey to Freedom, which follows a dozen artists responding to ideas of prison and incarceration in a show curated in collaboration with Mona. On the opening night of A Journey to Freedom, Tasmanian sound artist Matt Warren will perform an intense, live audio-visual work.

And there’s so much more. So explore the program for yourself.

Zero excuses not to go.

The grand opening of ZERO is happening at Mona on June 9. The Dark Mofo Prelude Weekend runs from June 8 to 10. Dark Mofo continues across Hobart from June 12 to 24.


Broadsheet is a proud media partner of Mona – Museum of Old and New Art.