Hobart’s remarkable Museum of Old and New Art has a surprising mix of thought-provoking installation art, modern paintings, sculptures and ancient artefacts.
Plan a day trip to take in the vast collection, and grand design, of Australia’s largest privately owned art museum. MONA stands for Museum of Old and New Art and the galleries showcase emotive and sometimes shocking modern art along with old artefacts and antiques.
Labyrinthine rooms and mezzanine floors give a sense of child-like discovery to this place. It’s “a subversive Disneyland for Adults”, according to its founder and chief collector, Hobart-born David Walsh. His plans for the museum were unconventional, even groundbreaking, and MONA is now one of the most talked about museums in the world.
Admire the large, modern building burrowed down into sandstone cliffs and find its doorway hidden behind a tennis court. Ride the cylindrical lift down to the cavernous subterranean floor to begin your journey through the unpredictable world of MONA. Use the electronic device that you’ve been handed at the reception to get multimedia information about the art and artists and to give your feedback.
The private collection is constantly evolving but always provides a thought-provoking art experience that may delight, surprise or shock you. Previous exhibits have included Egyptian sarcophagi, X-rays of sexual acts, antique coins, a tattooed skin, a metal lacework “cement truck”, a machine that turns food into excrement and a painted Aboriginal rainbow serpent covering a thousand panels by the late Australian artist Sidney Nolan.
Each January MONA hosts an art and music festival called MONA FOMA, with international and local, alternative and classical music acts. Like everything at MONA, the festival is challenging, celebratory and diverse. MONA is part of the Moorilla Winery and Vineyard along the Derwent River. There is a restaurant, café, jewellry store, art house cinema, theatre, concert stage, book shop, wine-tasting room and hotel on site. You can get to MONA by car, bus and ferry. Parking is free. The best way to capture the museum’s architecture is to arrive by ferry, leaving from the Brooke Street terminal in central Hobart. There is an admission fee for the museum. Tasmanians enter for free.