Art world eyes still on MONA
Wim Delvoye exhibition at MONA. Kerry Leathem, Kate Stapleton and John and Mary Van Denbrock from Ballarat looking at the Delvoye work 'Cement Truck' installed on the roof of MONA. Photo by Peter Mathew
Tasmanian drawcard MONA is claiming Australia's largest ever collaboration between private and public museums with a new exhibition it says will rival the mainland's blockbusters.
Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has teamed up with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) in a show called Theatre of the World, described as 4000 years of "visual thinking", that opens in June.
The collaboration will mark another milestone for MONA's multimillionaire owner David Walsh, whose disappearances from church as a child to wander around TMAG have become Hobart folklore.
"TMAG's certainly a place where David Walsh probably first started creating his idea of why he was collecting," MONA curator Nicole Durling said.
"When he was a young boy he would skive off to TMAG and start looking and wandering through that collection.
"So certainly it's a really natural collaboration for MONA and for TMAG."
Internationally renowned curator Jean-Hubert Martin has spent four years looking through TMAG's eclectic collection of art, historical objects and scientific pieces to create an exhibition of more than 450 pieces.
Mr Martin has previously curated major exhibitions in Paris and at the Venice Biennale.
Theatre of the World will feature previously unseen pieces from both the MONA and TMAG collections, including 80 rare bark cloth paintings from the South Pacific.
Chinese ceramics, Egyptian mummy cases and the National Gallery of Victoria's much-loved Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso will also be among the exhibits.
The exhibition will include a World War I bible, complete with lodged bullet, that saved the life of young Australian soldier Wilfred Upchurch at the Somme in 1918.
"I think the surprise of the exhibition will be the way that it's displayed," TMAG deputy director Peter West said.
"The display of the exhibition is quite unique and the way that it tells the stories will be something that people will really love and really enjoy the way that our collection and MONA's collection goes so well together."
MONA, which has attracted nearly half a million visitors since it opened in January last year to become Tasmania's No.1 tourist attraction, says its exhibition will rival the blockbuster shows held at mainland galleries.
"We like to think that we stand out on our own anyway," said Ms Durling.
"We certainly see some really strong numbers over the summer period but winter is a fabulous time to visit Tasmania and this is exactly the right kind of exhibition."