Monday, March 14, 2011

A Day at the Museum

Cloaca Professional at Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart

One of the best things about moving to a new place is that you can stay home and still be a tourist. And on the weekend, that's exactly what happened.

My new friend's a work of art. (Aren't they all?
Davy and Geoff were visiting, and we drove over to check out the new Museum of Old and New Art.

MONA is a private museum that opened its doors in late January. It was built by and houses the collection of one of our local rich guys, David Walsh, and he has created a beautiful building that displays everything from ancient Egyptian death masks to Cloaca Professional, a modern machine that recreates the human digestive process in a series of glass jars. (In the end, that one was crap.)

There are works by famous artists like Damien Hirst, Brett Whiteley and Sidney Nolan. There are famously controversial pieces like Chris Ofili's Mary.  There are many explicit pieces, including one section where there are 150 molds of female naughty bits.

Which made me finally understand what someone means when they say that they may not know art, but they know what they like.

I had wondered if I would like MONA. It is beyond doubt a confrontational exhibition and many early visitors let it be known that they did not like the museum. I did not know much about all of the wonderful pieces in the museum, but I sure had heard about the poo machine.

On the other hand, many love the place. Our group all did, and I will gladly return the next time visitors say they would like to check it out.

I will try to write more about MONA in a future post, but I would need to organize my thoughts to avoid writing a 50,000-word essay. And that from someone who doesn't even get most modern art.

On the personal side, it was a great weekend catching up with Davy and Geoff. Davy is the guy who took my job when I retired, and I had wondered if he still blamed me for handing him the poisoned chalice. Fortunately, he is a forgive-and-forget sort of person.

We turned on what may have been Hobart's best weather of the year - brilliantly sunny, warm days and not even a hint of what a windy, rainy day feels like here. The latter is known as Caroline Weather, you may recall, since she managed to bring out some of our nastiest days on both of her visits.

The good news, though, is that we named our guest bedroom the Caroline Bucknell Room in recognition of the fact that she was the first person of European heritage to discover and explore it. Caroline works for Davy, but he didn't mind staying in the Caroline Bucknell Room. And I am sure she will enjoy knowing he slept there.

It was a quick flying visit for the lads, and we barely had time to get rid of our Saturday night hangovers before we went into town for lunch on Sunday at the waterfront before bringing them to the airport. Nonetheless, as we said good-bye to the fifth set of visitors we have had since New Year's,  LK and I had a bit of a chuckle thinking of all the people who told us we would be lonely if we moved here.

And finally, in the Year We Are Not Travelling Much, we head out to Honolulu tomorrow. We've already booked trips to Port Douglas, Bali, the US and a cruise through the Panama Canal. I think I need to have LK explain what "not travelling much" means.

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