I’m looking at a wall filled with a long line of small, white porcelain sculptures which is one of MONA’s, Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art, most loved and most despised artworks.
As I stare at the pieces trying to work out what they are, my companion says, “I wonder which one is my brother’s girlfriend?”
It turns out the girlfriend was one of the 151 models who posed for artist Greg Taylor’s C—s … and Other Conversations 2008-2009. That’s a lot of vulvas and clitorises.
Mona is a subversive ‘Disneyland’
There’s no guarantee that this work will be on display when you visit MONA, as the collection, which embodies a particular mode of pleasure and thought, a subversive ‘Disneyland’ of old and new art displayed with intent, is constantly rotating.
Hopefully the Cloaca will be on display and eating as normal. It’s a machine designed to emulate the human digestive process. An attendant feeds it once a day and yes, it poos as well.
Opened in January 2011, MONA was established by David Walsh to shock and offend as much as challenge, inform and delight. I wasn’t offended, but was sometimes repulsed by some of the art which is very graphic. It’s a cross section of everything Walsh has enjoyed in other museums around the world and I would guess the envy of many museum curators.
MONA is located within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart and is the largest privately funded museum in Australia.
A visit here is a real experience, so don’t even think of scheduling just a couple of hours or you’ll walk away feeling disappointed when it’s time to go, as I did.
Explore three levels
There are three subterranean museum levels cut into the Triassic sandstone of the river bank, about 17 metres down, all unseen from the top entrance.
MONA also incorporates two eateries, The Source and the Wine Bar, where you can dine before and after you tour the exhibition.
Given a wish list, I would stay at the MONA Pavillions and drink in the atmosphere over a couple of days. It could be an extraordinary visit.
Where is MONA
You’ll find MONA at 655 Main Rd, Berriedale, Tasmania Admission is free if you are Tasmanian or under 18 years of age. For the rest of us, expect to pay between $20 to $28.
MONA sits on a 3.5-hectare peninsular which curves into the Derwent River, about a 15-minute drive north of central Hobart by car. You can take a bus or catch a fast catamaran from the MONA Ferry Terminal at Brooke Street Pier which would be a fabulous 25-minute journey to the museum for $22. However, don’t be surprised by the 99 steps on arrival.
Best tip: Enjoy drinks and canapes in the Posh Pit. Buy tickets for the boat beforehand on line for $55.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Tourism Tasmania.