On a spectacular water-front site on the Derwent river, partly excavated into the sandstone, theMuseum Of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart has dramatically changed the cultural landscape of this once sleepy harbor city in Tasmania. The impact has been compared with the Guggenheim in Bilbao.
Designed by Melbourne-based Nonda Katsalidis, the museum is the brainchild of Hobart resident the eccentric gambling millionaire David Walsh. The world-class museum has been praised for its incredible architectural features, a vast collection and significant curatorial projects.
Jean-Hubert Martin, former director of Centre Pompidou in Paris was invited to curate the current exhibition “The Theatre of the World” (until April 8, 2013) where ancient and contemporary works are mixed. Picasso’s Weeping Woman is displayed next to indigenous art from Papua New Guinea. As in all MONA exhibitions there are no labels on the walls, so it is all about looking and absorbing. Martin’s goal is to engage viewers directly with the artworks.
Right at the start of the year – and the height of the summer season down under – various festivals take place in Hobart. MONA will stage the high-profile avant-garde music festival MONA FOMA(16.1 – 20.1.2013) with David Byrne and St Vincent as headline acts this year as well as Elvis Costello on January 23 in MOFO encore.