Tasmania may be an unlikely location for a cutting edge art show, in a state-of-the-art museum space. But that’s exactly what you’ll find if you make the spectacular journey to the Museum of Old and New Art this summer Darius Sanai
If ever there were a show that could be dubbed Adventure Art, it would be this. On an exposed tip of the island at the farthest corner of Australia sits the spectacular Museum of Old and New Art, a space that combines a microbrewery, chic wine bar, restaurant, arresting architecture, and, oh, one of the world’s greatest collections of global antiquities, combined with dramatic works by leading contemporary artists from around the globe.
It is into this space that Jean-Hubert Martin, former director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, is guest curating a one-year show launching this June, entitled Theatre of the World. The show is a journey through the wildest recesses of Africa, South America, Australasia, and east London, with works by artists ranging from Chris Ofili to Sidney Nolan.
There are more than 300 works on in a show the museum describes as taking visitors “on an experiential voyage that moves them from the visceral to the symbolic, and the factual to the poetic.”
In an interview with LUX, Martin commented: “There is no reason to look at art only in terms of historical and geographical categories. An anthropological perspective allows for comparison between any creations of humankind. It provides a much broader scope.”
Those making the journey, he said, “should be free to interpret and play with their imagination, combining and playing with their knowledge, not mine, in front of items we have put together to excite their neurons.”
And if your neurons don’t get enough excitement from the 4000 year-span of the works on show, there’s always the rest of MONA, which includes a rather splendid winery and brewhouse. MONA itself is the creation of David Walsh, a brilliant, colourful, and eccentric Tasmanian multi-millionaire, and if his aim was to put Tasmania on the world map, one could say he is certainly succeeding. A visit to MONA is an adventure in itself; and getting there only adds to the fun.