Halfway into my spring break Down Under, the cultural takeaway was not living up to the dream. However, a true collectista always finds her way. So as not to disappoint, I ventured to Tasmania for the day. Seriously, two weeks ago, I thought Tasmania was merely a fictional cartoon home to the devil. Who knew that in reality, it is a magnificent, leafy Australian island that is home to one of the great art destinations of the world: the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Well, it is and you need to meet MONA.
MONA is not just a museum—it is an adventure. As such, the best way to do MONA is a quickie flight from mainland Australia. Then, to get the full experience, take the MONA ferry to get to the actual museum. Even the ferry terminal is stylish, with Jean Prouvé reproduction chairs at the café, which serves wine from the local vineyard. When you book your ferry ticket, you mustn’t forget to reserve your space in the “Posh Pit” (not to be confused with the Beverly Hills, 90210 “Peach Pit,” Mr. Dottie). The Posh Pit jump-starts the morning with champagne, canapés, and art abounding on the ceilings and walls. Upon arrival at MONA, one can’t help but marvel at the beautiful Nonda Katsalidis architecture nestled in the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale Peninsula. Frankly, the art almost becomes secondary to the outdoor gardens, fantastic trampoline (go ahead, see if you can make the big bells ring), magnificent water views, and multiple bars, wine tasting, and fine-dining opportunities. Nonetheless, it is a treat to enjoy David Walsh’s collection as well as whatever temporary exhibit is on display through the multilevel contemporary structure (it was Matthew Barney during my visit). To create a fully informed endeavor, MONA offers “The O,” which is a handheld “smart” device that guides one’s tour during the visit, as well as saves everything for your future access. Go figure that a professional gambler turned art collector would give back to the community in such spades. I wasn’t ready to go all in, but there are even two guest pavilions on property available for overnight bookings. Have to say, MONA was the highlight of my Australia jaunt.
Museum of Old and New Art
655 Main Road, Berriedale
+61 (3) 6277-9900