Hob-ART, Tasmania

Hob–ART, Tasmania

“Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. … It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see.” Ann Patchett

I don’t know why I was surprised.  Art can be everywhere. When I thought about Tasmania, I thought of the clean air and water, rugged coastlines, interesting wildlife and incredible views.

I started to do some research.  I found MONA – Museum Of Old And New Art ( blog https://travelwellflysafe.com/2013/12/09/mona-roma-to-mona-hobart-tasmania-australia/ )   a boat ride away. MONA is a “deliberately underwhelming”  gallery of old and new art. It is an art Disneyland experience with all of your senses engaged – not what I was expecting in Tasmania at all.


On the grounds of MONA (The old Moorilla Wine Estate), there is also a  bar, café, restaurant, accommodations, a winery and a brewery.  The outdoor areas are interesting and inviting.


Moo Brew’s original brewery was located on the site of the Museum of Old and New Art. I was there on the last day of Moo Brew brewery and had a private tour.  They produce five core beers: a Pilsner, a German-style Hefeweizen, a Belgian Pale Ale, an American Pale Ale and an American Dark Ale.  Due to the continued expansion of MONA,  all brewery operations are now carried out at their second brewery.


I was looking for a hotel and came upon the Henry Jones Art Hotel. I began to be more curious about Hobart and decided to stay longer than I planned. The hotel is housed in the H. Jones and Co. Jam Factory . The architect has fused the traditional structure with modern design. I rarely talk about hotels but I really liked this one.


I was in this cool loft room.   I found my room easily because I knew it was near the pink pig.



They have a wonderful art tour given by the fun, knowledgeable and pretty Christine Scott.  The Hotel has over 300 original and contemporary works of art which are exhibited throughout the property. These works showcase Tasmania’s leading and emerging artists. Most of the art is for sale.



Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, you should come and have a drink and and take the tour.



Christine told us about the artists of Hobart and I was curious.  On my last day in Hobart,  I took an art walking tour of with Christine. (Art from film slides, Patrick Hall . He has some great pieces art MONA also)



Christine knows everything that is going on in the art world in Hobart. She has an extensive network of artists, galleries and friends .



Christine is up on the latest  exhibitions and reviews and knows exactly where to go. Whether you want to buy or look, she will take you to the best galleries.  (Christine  www.hobARTwalks.com )


Writing about art is hard for me.   It is translating the visual into language .  They are two very different mediums. You have to go to Hobart and take the art tour with Christine to experience it for yourself.


I loved Tasmania and I loved seeing all the  unexpected  art. The best thing about traveling is finding a place that you had no idea was just where you wanted to go.


Fly Safe,


Mona Roma To MONA, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Mona Roma To MONA in  Hobart, Tasmania

But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.”Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.””How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.”You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.” Lewis Carroll

What happens when an art collector/mathematician  uses his ability to beat the odds in casinos and makes millions of dollars? If it is David Walsh, he builds an art museum in Hobart Tasmania.  He builds the most expensive privately owned museum in Australia. It opened in January 2011.  The museum is called MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art  Modern art and ancient artifacts are shown side by side.  It is free if you live in Tasmania.  It has quickly become their number one tourist attraction . (MONA ROMA dock)


The day begins on a camoflage painted boat in the Hobart Harbor  called the MONA ROMA (get it ?roamer?) complete with sculptures of  livestock in the back.  You can also drive (it is a peninsula) or take a taxi boat.


They serve champagne, coffee and hor d’oeurves during the half hour journey on the Derwent River.  The arty people who I did not see when I arrived in Hobart are on this boat at 930 am.


When you get to MONA it is hard to find the entrance.  There is a mirrored building behind a tennis court .  Apparently David Walsh likes tennis.


“When you go to a conventional museum you are forced to walk up stairs and past pillars meant to make you feel small and then have academics tell you it’s culture but David wanted none of that so he built this place underground.”, according to the curator.

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After finding the entrance, you are given an Ipod Touch.  It uses GPS to work out which piece of art you are standing in front of. (Lobby)



The Ipod Touch called the 0 is one of the things that makes museum designers very curious about MONA.


As the guide says: ‘We don’t have labels on the walls. We have the O. Use it to read about the art on display and to listen to interviews with the artists. It’s free.’ (Fat car, Erwin Wum)


There is a running commentary by David Walsh, artist interviews and explanations. They have cute names, like the truth, the gospel, gonzo (that would be David Walsh), Tweedle dum  (that could be  David Walsh) and Jabberwocky and art wank. Pick the explanation you want to hear. (1$ for your story James Newitt series of photos and stories)


Enter your email address, and you’ll later be sent a diagram of the route you took through MONA and the artworks you saw.

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When you tap on the icon for the artwork, information appears along with a place you could check if you loved or hated it – way too subjective for modern art . I don’t like to make decisions when I am looking at artwork. Sometimes I didn’t use the O at all. But that is probably ok with David Walsh also. ( The Mice And Me by Meghan Boody)


According to my visit email,  I did  hit love for Berlin Buddha by Zhang Huan.  It is made from incense ash collected from temples around Shanghai and  faces its hollowed aluminum counterpart. The ash moves and decomposes with time. It is based on  the concept in Buddhism from “existence to nothing.” Yes the artist is a Buddhist.


There is no flash photography and they will charge your phone at the coat check while you are having lunch, if you take too many pictures and use up your battery. (personal experience )


From the lobby, a spiral staircase descends 17 meters underground, ending in an open basement  with a 250-million-year-old Triassic sandstone wall (the rock it was built on)


There are three levels of steel and stone filled with art, objects and a lot of video /techno  works.  It is all  shocking, educational and entertaining.


Visitors are encouraged to get lost in the maze of dark hallways, where hidden staircases might turn into open galleries and rooms go out into dead ends. I missed a few important exhibits on the first day but found them on the second. Whatever you see during your visit is what you are supposed to see. There is no set route.



It feels like the “art ride” at Disneyland, but in a good way.   From the minute you walk in to the exhibition space all five senses are engaged. They stay that way for your entire visit. My first visit was  eight hours. ( Paradise by Kutlug Ataman)


Being an avid museum goer all my life, it was hard to not to keep looking for those plaques to  tell me what I was seeing. Not being technologically adept, I had some trouble with the O at first. But it is such a techno place, the O kind of works.  I like having the record of my visit (I had a few glitches the first time – the second time I knew how to do it perfectly.) to refer back to as I write this. ( The Frieze Of War Treasures by Sarkis)


The exhibition is called the Red Queen.  And it is interspersed with some of the original collection. “The Queen is driven, by abstract forces, to run in order to keep pace with the world around her. However fast she goes, she never seems ‘to pass anything””[Do] all the things move along with us?” wonders Alice.’… Is human-ness nothing but a set of such behaviours?

 The answer, we hope  will remain elusive; there will be no lessons learnt or taught, only contagious inquiry into human nature.” From the Mona website ( Untitled White Library by Wilfredo Prieto)


Many of my favorite pieces were the video ones and the death gallery that I couldn’t photograph or explain. (Artifact by Gregory Barsamian – This is amazing. It is giant head with window holes  in it and this photo is of one of the videos in the head)


I  had a cold. Tasmania is  one of the largest producers of pharmaceutical opium and has some pretty strong cold medicines. I was taking them. From the moment I tripped down those stairs, I was definitely having the full Through the Looking Glass Art experience. (Zizi the Affectionate Couch with sounds by Stephen Barass, Linda Davy, Robert Davy, Kerry Richens)


Fly Safe,