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MONA is not just a museum or gallery. It was unique and innovative when it opened in 2011 ands continues to be world class.

Modern art is not really my thing. Aussie Mate appreciates the genre much more than me. However I enjoyed MONA for the art pieces that I did like and for the museum space, contemporary structure, original ideas and inventive method of providing detail and information on the art pieces.

The museum is located within the Moorilla Winery and is cut into a sandstone outcrop on the Derwent River. There are art works outside in the forecourt before you enter a single storey building which houses the ticket office, cafe and shop. The galleries are in three basement levels, a fascinating mix of rock walls, glass, concrete and metal walkways.

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There are no labels on the walls. Each visitor is loaned an iPod style gadget that guides you through the galleries. The O button lists nearby artworks as you walk around, provides information as well as a “love” or “hate” voting option. It is fun to vote as you look at each piece, as “the O” then tells you how many other people agreed with you. The gadget tracks your tour of the museum, works that you have viewed and voted on. Your tour can be emailed to you at the end.

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Here are a few of the works that I did “love”.

Cement Truck on a Flatbed Trailer – Wim Delvoye

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Chapel – Wim Delvoye

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Danser la Musique – Chen Zhen

This giant trampoline has bells attached which ring with each bounce. Fun for adults, not just the kids.

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bit.fall – Julius Popp
water drops catch the light as they fall and spell out words and messages.

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MONA is not for everyone. It’s focus is modern art with intended themes around sex and death. The brochure has a content warning stating “the museum contains artwork that some visitors may find confronting”.

It’s founder is David Walsh, a mathematician and professional gambler. He became an “art collector” in 1992 after casino winnings in South Africa could not be taken out of the country in cash, so he bought an item from a local gallery and brought it back to Australia. He has collected Roman and Egyptian antiquities but the majority of works are modern. MONA is the largest privately funded museum in the country and is behind DARK MOFO and other festivals of music and art in Hobart.

We did a short tour of the winery as well but that is a different story.