museum shops of the world: mona

This weekend Liz and a host of No Award staff writers visited The Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA, in Hobart. And so, a shop review in brief.

Liz wrote:

Too many postcards for old exhibits and not enough for current ones; no Ah Xian postcards, which is unfortunate because I love him and would have bought one.

Strongly book-focused, with jewelry that you can get from the NGV for the same price.

The cunt soap (actual name) was a highlight, except for the peppermint scented one, which just seems intrinsically uncomfortable.  Well, nothing about MONA is meant to be comfortable, but I don’t think genital itch is what they were going for.

TL;DR: two stars.

No Award staff writer Ashleigh notes: what I did appreciate was that the book collection was pretty well focused on artists whose work is or has been on display. that is surprisingly uncommon.

Museum: Museum of Old and New Art

Location: 655 Main Road Berriedale, Hobart, Tasmania

Items purchased: Liz purchased a postcard of “the Star Trek exhibit“; Noted Fatberg Zoe purchased a tote bag; Official Calligrapher Moya purchased “a fatcar postcard & a novelty blood filled syringe pen with which to creep out my new work frans.” Ashleigh purchased these things and also has a list of books she plans to purchase cheaper from book depository.

Getting There: Liz and the No Award staff writers flew to Hobart and drove to Mona because the boat is $20 a head and is basically there to disguise the lower middle-class suburbs that surround MONA.

Date and Time Visited: mid arvo, Saturday

ETA: Official Calligrapher Moya wishes to amend her review to give MONA negative points, as “the syringe pen is gross and blobby enough to not function as a pen at all”.  Unfortunate, though that is often the way with novelty syringe pens.

9 thoughts on “museum shops of the world: mona

  1. The boat is great fun and has some lovely views (I only went once with a boatload of superhero-themed children when my godson had his birthday on the MONA grounds) but you’re completely right about the ‘disguising northern suburbs’ aspect. I never quite recovered from the experience of seeing an older woman with a disability confronted with the 80+ cliff steps, close to tears at the shock of realising she was going to have to climb them, and the MONA employee explaining to her about the aesthetic importance of approaching the museum by steps and why it is the preferred entrance.

    (it took me a long time to get up those stairs with my 3 year old daughter, too, just saying)

    Apparently they can take the boat around to a second landing with wheelchair/pram access, but this wasn’t made clear as a general service to those whose disability might be less visible. Or, you know, had better things to do than climb that many fucking steps.

  2. David Witteveen

    David Walsh grew up in Glenorchy. I don’t think the boat is trying to disguise the working class suburbs he grew up in. I think it’s trying to bilk some cash off rich tourists to help keep MONA financially afloat.

    The steps are rather intimidating. Personally, I enjoy the pilgrimage vibe of climbing up them to this crazy art temple, and I’ve seen the ferry dropping off and collecting people from the accessible pier.

    But Tansy has a good point: they could make the option more explicit.

    As for the bookshop: I find it a bit disappointing. I’ve been multiple times and the only thing I’ve ever bought was the original MONANISMS catalogue. (Which, admittedly, is sublime.)

  3. I don’t think the woman was 80! But she did have a bad hip, as do a huge number of people in the world, and the staff response to ‘those stairs make me want to cry’ should never be to explain their artistic statement.

    I think MONA is great and wacky, and has done an immeasurable good thing by existing in the world and giving the ‘all art is weird’ crowd something to bitch about while increasing tourism in my state and letting the world finally acknowledge that we’re at least a bit cosmopolitan.

    But it’s also a grand indulgence by a highly privileged egotist, and that means a high level of art-wank to surf through in order to enjoy the excellent bits. And I think we’re all kidding ourselves if we don’t think he has a shark tank down there somewhere, for when the secret agents break in to steal his secret formula.

    MONA does many great things, and is especially supportive of local art, local events and community groups. Its inherent strangeness is part of its charm, and the staff are hardworking and enthusiastic. But yeah, art should never trump accessibility.

    1. And I think we’re all kidding ourselves if we don’t think he has a shark tank down there somewhere, for when the secret agents break in to steal his secret formula.

      Well, there’s a movie that needs to exist, along with the horror movie set in the MONA dungeons with unwitting art lovers being fed to Cloaca Professional.

      1. David Witteveen

        Well, Matthew Barney was there recently. So provided you want your thriller/horror-movie to be a nine hour art film about genitalia and vaseline, you may yet get your wish.

    2. David Witteveen

      God. Sorry. Reading comprehension fail.

      I like talking to Tasmanians who are grumpy about MONA. It balances out my manga-eyed love. The Museum has done amazing things for Tasmania, but it’s so huge that it distorts everything around it. (Like a bowling ball on a trampoline, as Neil Gaiman once described his effect on Continuum to me.)

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