Sunday 31st January 2016
The weather forecast for today was for more rain, and after a soggy day yesterday we decided today would be a good time to visit the Museum of Old and New Art. We had read mixed reviews of this museum, with some quite scathing or even outraged, but as always we would make up our own minds, and off we went. We hopped on a bus at the end of Lord Street which deposited us a 5-minute walk downhill to the harbour, where we bought our tickets for the next departure of the catamaran MR-0 which would take us the 30-minute trip up the Derwent River to the museum.
The MONA ferries waiting to take customers to the museum. Our wake as we headed up the Derwent River.
Inside the ferry was comfy and warm. Some people seemed to be in a cage – was this the ‘Posh Pit’ they had paid extra for?!
Half an hour later we disembarked onto a jetty, to be faced with a sign telling us we needed to climb a hundred steps to the entrance. Pah, piece of piss after Cammeray, so off we went, while the ferry moved 500 metres to another jetty where there was an entrance for people of limited mobility. Hmm, perhaps we should have stayed on...
The stairway to MONA. Entrance is the white building at the top.
The museum is underground, carved out of the rock, and so the first thing we did after going up all those stairs to the entrance, was to go back down again. This time we went in a glass lift, and it seemed to take us right down into the bowels of the earth. The idea is to start at the lowest level, and work your way back up to the surface.
The lower level was mainly taken up by the large-scale work of Gilbert & George. Each photo-based piece of artwork was enormous, very ‘busy’ and often controversial. Union Jacks, nudity, sexual acts, bodily fluids and functions, swear words, weaponry, religion and race seemed to be common themes. Some I found shocking, others amusing, some sickening. Very interesting though.
Gilbert & George apparently always wear these suits. An example entitled Forward, 2008
Each piece of artwork covered an entire wall.
Certainly we found the themes of some of the exhibits unexpected – there was a whole wall full of plaster casts of vaginas, and ‘Cloaca Professional’ was a model of the human digestive system that was fed daily at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and which pooed at 2 p.m. It did not smell good in there, as it also farted. We did not linger.
The feeding end nearest, the pooing end on the right.
We waited for half an hour to enter the ‘Death Gallery’. Only two people at a time were allowed to enter. This was a very dimly lit room in which one needed to follow the pathway carefully because everywhere else was water, apart from the island on which stood the Mummy and sarcophagus of Pausiris of Egypt, c.100BCE-CE100. It was not worth the wait.
We liked the ‘Fat car’ by Erwin Wurm. He is quoted as saying “The fatter you are the more your brain shrinks.” Interesting theory. But we liked his car nonetheless.
Now this was amusing – a ‘Fat Car’.
The White Room was an interesting idea, but is it art?
A library devoid of print. An almost unthinkable concept.
The rock into which the museum is carved. Words appeared in jets of water falling from above.
There really was a great deal to see, much of it thought-provoking, some of it pretty pointless (to me, but only my opinion of course), some of it good fun, and some of it beautiful. We really enjoyed our visit. Approaching it with an open mind is essential.