We stayed in a state of the art airbandb house, it was so well designed I felt at take off. But instead there was the most darling beach 100 meters away. WE swam every morning Of course the travel writers go on about the arts and crafts market at Salamanca, the new award winning restaurants. Oh yes we did them all. We also had a poor night out in Bellerive the suburb where we stayed. Not so much fish and chips to die for but fish and chips which could have killed.
So we come to the Museum of Old and New Art. For fucks sake. It should be in Berlin , Rotterdam or Los Angeles, maybe Sao Paulo but its in Hobart. In its designer conceived building its got art celebrating shitting, fucking, dying. Damien Hurst is too boring to make much of an impression here. Some one once said it was like the Tate Modern with a sense of humour, another said it made the Saatchi Gallery seem like a warehouse. It has been referred to as a “Subversive Disney land”. Maybe. Its certainly something else, but so are bag ladies and fornicating dogs. My souvenir was a key ring with the immortal block capitals spelling ENNUI. But to be fair, where else would dare sell such an object? It now rests in the Musee Festing.
But of course MONA is a Technicolor reflection of its founder and sponsor David Walsh. A man who prefers group sex but loves his grandchildren. A man who has famously made hundreds of millions from working out mathematical solutions to gaming opportunities. Hobart has lots of land and great views so Walsh,the one time murder suspect, built underground. A designer dungeon, Wow. A man who having been attacked for parking in a disabled bay now has a slot with Reserved/God next to Reserved/God’s Mistress. Way to go.
I am not going to repeat the articles about this Great Gatsby of a man, a kaleidoscope character from some of the most profound Russian novels. His favourite is Crime and Punishment. His crazy paving of a family life both as a child and now.But he has created something extraordinary, but whether it will survive his generosity and mortality is a good question. When he was short during the £100m(?) building he sorted it by going big on the Melbourne Cup.
It starts with card counting and graduates into a world wide gambling business and ends with a legend and a museum which is not only on the world’s cultural map but has helped put sweet lil’ ol’ Hobart with all its inbred folk nearly into the mainstream. He makes those Russian crooks who buy football teams and girls with endless legs seem such wet farts. Like Tate, Saatchi, Sainsbury, Wallace and Jean Louvre, Walsh is up there.
Where? Lonely Planet because of MONA makes Hobart one of the world’s top ten destinations. Well. Lonely Planet should get out more