Opening on January 21, 2011, and built into a cliffside in southern Tasmania, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is a four-story collection of some of the crudest and bizarre sculptures and machines imaginable. MONA is often referred to as the “Temple of Weird” and dubbed “subversive adult Disneyland” by the museum’s founder David Walsh.
Nearly every exhibit at MONA is bizarre or controversial. This peculiar art includes a suicide bomber made out of chocolate, molds of female genitalia of real women, a 250 million-year-old sandstone wall used by Walsh to promote evolution and atheism, and a “rain-painting machine” that uses 128 computer-controlled nozzles to spell out a daily-selected phrase with water.
An oddly placed tennis court leads to the museum’s mirror-covered entrance. As visitors approach the museum, they hold their noses and complain of a fecal smell, asking if there was a sewage leak at the museum. They’ll soon find out, after entering the museum, that the smell is from MONA’s cloaca machine, named after the excretory opening found in many animals. Known as the “shit machine,” the ingenious contraption dumps piles of food into a funnel and passes it through six giant tanks to mimic the process of digestion. In the end, the cloaca machine produces a stinky heap of fecal matter, making it the most hated exhibit in the entire building.
For those who love the Museum of Old and New Art, however, the “Eternity” membership package would be of great interest, offering visitors not only lifetime admission but the after-death opportunity to display their ashes in urns for all to see.
Know Before You Go
Museum Opening hours: 10 am–6 pm. Closed Tuesdays and Christmas Day.Entry Cost: FREE for all Tasmanians / anyone under 18. All other entry cost varies between $20–$28 (adult) and $15–$25 (concession) depending on the time of year. Photo ID required for entry. Getting there: MONA is located 11 kilometers north of Hobart, Tasmania—approximately 25 minutes by the MONA Ferry MR-1 (departs Brooke St Pier, Hobart) or 20 minutes by road (either by car or via the MONA ROMA Express Bus. FREE parking available onsite. More info at https://mona.net.au/visit