So I hopped on a plane and went down to see what all the fuss was about and it was surely worth the trip! The MONA Museum – The Museum of Old and New Art, is Australia’s largest privately owned and most controversial museum, housing David Walsh’s prized and world famous collection of contemporary, thought provoking art and antiquities. His fascination with sex and death is on display throughout the museum, which is sited on over 8.5 acres on the foreshore of the Derwent River in Hobart, Tasmania. I must say, the approach to the “subversive adult Disneyland” by catamaran is quite spectacular to say the least.
Walsh is a Gambler and Australia’s most prominent art collector. A statistician who made his millions legally counting cards and crafting complex algorithms that allowed him to transform horse racing and blackjack into high-yield investment platforms.
There are about 300 artworks on display on three floors of an exquisite cave with mood lighting throughout– something you wouldn’t expect to find in a museum. The architecture is impressive and the exposed rock is stunning. The lower ground floor features a full bar and café. I suspect many visitors are ready for shot of a little something at some point during their visit.
The museum, 99 steps up from the jetty opened in January 2011 and is Walsh’s biggest bet to date. He purchased the property in 1995. The acquisition included the Moorilla winery and vineyard which we visited and an old residence that he remodeled and now uses as a café and the museum store. His $80 million investment in construction included an elegant fine dining restaurant, a 63-seat cinema, 8 contemporary accommodation pavilions, a library and function center, a fabulous outdoor entertainment area where spectators lounge on bean bags and a terrific casual outdoor restaurant with delicious food and wine. Walsh’s vision and creation is guaranteed to impress.
Walsh and his wife reside at the property. Their front door is just before you reach the top of the stairs to enter the museum. I’m told that he is very approachable and loves to talk to visitors about his creation and his collection.
He says he cares about sex and death. One might describe some of the exhibits as confronting, jaw dropping or perhaps question if indeed it’s art at all. The main exhibition when we were there was “Gilbert and George” from England. The conclusion I reached was that it was a body of work assembled by two angry guys looking to shock and offend, but maybe I’m a prude.
For greater insight into the mind of David Walsh you can buy his book “A Bone of Fact” Which I am told is a fascinating read.
I’m back from the land down under after an amazing vacation down there. If I can assist your with your dreams of owning a piece of Napa Valley real estate, please call me on (707) 738 4820, or email me at [email protected].