|Art, defecation and death at Australian gambler David Walsh's MONA: Museum of Old and New Art|
An untitled artwork by Greek artist Jannis Kounellis in the foreground and artwork titled The Snake by Australian artist Sir Sidney Nolan in the background - in the unorthodox Museum of Old and New Art, (MONA), which has become one of Australia's most talked-about tourist attractions located on Tasmania's Derwent River. Though centred around the Aus$75 million custom-built museum and its Aus$100 million collection, MONA is about much more than art -- it has an on-site brewery and vineyard, accomodation, restaurant and wine bar. MONA has shot to prominence in the two short years it's been open, seeing Lonely Planet name the tiny harbour hamlet of Hobart one of the world's top 10 cities to visit in 2013. MONA is intended to be a challenge -- to the senses and the art establishment. AFP PHOTO.
HOBART (AFP).- Eccentric Australian gambler David Walsh is shaking up the sleepy city of Hobart with an unorthodox new museum challenging visitors to a new pact with fermenting, defecating and dying art.
It is an unassuming site for what has fast become one of Australia's most talked-about tourist attractions, a rusted, hulking edifice perched on a hillside 100 steps up from the Derwent River in the island state of Tasmania.
By design, the first sight greeting visitors is a tennis court -- maths savant Walsh plays there when the museum is closed on Tuesdays. It is intended to dispel any notion that a contrived act of culture is about to take place.
Once inside, visitors descend several flights of stairs to access the galleries. There are no labels on the walls -- all information about the works is stored in an iPod handed out at the start of a visit.
The device is loaded with facts and commentaries about the art, some from the artist or Walsh himself under a section called "Artwank" -- one of many irreverent touches pitched at a younger audience.
Punters can "love" or "hate" each work, aligned to the device via GPS, and at the end of the day can have a record of their tour emailed to them, complete with all the media.
"You come to a conventional museum, walk up the steps through the columns and you're told what to think," research curator Delia Nicholls told AFP.
"(Walsh) wanted you to have a different visceral experience by coming underground, putting a tennis court out the front.
"He wanted to do this thing where you don't get any clues that you are coming to a museum."
The Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA, has shot to prominence in the two short years it has been open, seeing Lonely Planet name Hobart one of the world's top 10 cities to visit in 2013.
Some 700,000 visitors have passed through its doors and big names including Elvis Costello have signed onto its annual MONA FOMA (or MOFO) music and art festival, which attracts tens of thousands of tourists to the port city.
"For a little place at the end of the world it's not bad," said Nicholls.
Though centred around the Aus$75 million (US$77 million) custom-built museum and its Aus$100 million collection, MONA is about much more than art -- it has an on-site brewery and vineyard, accommodation, restaurant and wine bar.
The tale of its provenance is almost as intriguing as its contents. Legend has it that Walsh, a collector since childhood of stamps and coins, bought his first serious piece, a carved door, on a gambling trip to South Africa.
Told he could not take his cash winnings out of the country, he asked if he could have the Nigerian palace door instead, quipping: "So I can't take $20,000 out but I can take your heritage," according to Nicholls.
Walsh, who once described himself as "internal to the point of autism", has built a vast fortune devising gambling algorithms after learning how to count cards while studying science at university.
A self-made millionaire from working-class roots, he claims to have gone broke establishing MONA and it is easy to see why.
Among the works currently on display are pieces by Kandinsky, Basquiat and Warhol, Australian modernists Sidney Nolan and Arthur Boyd along with Andres Serrano, best known for his controversial "Piss Christ".
French curator Jean-Hubert Martin, former director of the Centre Georges Pompidou, helped Walsh lay out his collection and Nicholls said Walsh sought him for his unconventional eye.
Some of the art is living -- French artist Michel Blazy's fermenting sculptures using fruit and agar are oddly compelling -- while others celebrate death.
Greg Taylor's "My Beautiful Chair" invites the visitor to recline beside a lethal injection machine developed by euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke as a computer counts down the three minutes 15 seconds to "YOU ARE DEAD".
For Aus$75,000 your ashes can be interred in the museum's cinerarium alongside Walsh's father and another family friend.
At 2:00pm every day a fresh faecal masterpiece is conceived by Wim Delvoye's Cloaca Professional, a complex array of transparent urns fed and functioning as a digestive tract -- "a work of art that produces a work of art".
The smell is overpowering as it is fed its meal of a sandwich and salad from the museum cafe, an in-sink garbage disposal unit functioning as its mouth and the turbid swirl of acids, enzymes and browning sludge laid bare.
Nicholls said Walsh intended MONA to be a challenge -- to the senses and the art establishment.
"He hopes that (visitors) see the connections that we have all got, that we maybe help them to see things in a new way," she said.
"That's what good art's about."
© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse
February 19, 2013
Sculpture from the Düsseldorf Art Academy on view at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
Significant exhibition exploring early decades of Cubism opens at Irish Museum of Modern Art
Christie's London announces the sale of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Guest's Collection
Seattle Art Museum presents European masterworks from London and Seattle collections
Estate of the film producer Hercules Bellville up for auction at Holloway's of Banbury
Mini cars attract mega interest at RM's record-setting Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum Sale
Board member of Philadelphia Museum of Art connects medical research & art authentication
Art, defecation and death at Australian gambler David Walsh's MONA: Museum of Old and New Art
Oleg Vassiliev, leading Nonconformist and Contemporary Russian painter, dies at 81
Twentieth century chic: New display marks 100 years of fashion and social change
Racine Art Museum opens "Shades of Gray: Black and White Graphics from the Collection"
Shapero Rare Books to present a manuscript from the library of the Tsar at TEFAF
Bidders take their pick from Pennsylvania Treasury's 'unclaimed' vault in Morphy's million-dollar auction
Audiences in Moscow see the future of photography through the eyes of Russian and German artists
Carpenter Center presents an exhibition and critical engagement with its iconic modernist building
SP-Arte/2013 announces participating galleries
MCA unveils first work purchased through the new MCA Foundation
"Ashe to Amen: African Americans and Biblical Imagery" at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York City
Exhibition examines six new museum sites that integrate architecture, art, and landscape
Designs for rebuilding the Notre Dame de L'Assomption Cathedral, Port-au-Prince on view in Miami
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Picasso masterpiece becomes the most valuable work ever sold at auction: $179,365,000
2.- Conceptual artist David Ireland's restored home at 500 Capp Street to open in January 2016
3.- After last month's 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal, century-old Kaiser Library left in ruins
4.- Team of American explorers say pirate Captain Kidd's treasure found off Madagascar
5.- Christoph Buechel's church-cum-mosque causes controversy at Venice Biennale
6.- World's oldest complete example of 10 Commandments on rare display in Israel
7.- Go West: Artists flee exorbitant and over-crowded New York for Los Angeles
8.- All the World's Futures: 56th International Art Exhibition curated by Okwui Enwezor opens
9.- Exhibition at Museum of Modern Art explores Yoko Ono's groundbreaking early work
10.- Tsibi Geva presents a new installation for the Israeli pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|