A Twenty-first-century Wunderkammer: Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

By Georgina Walker.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 22, 2016 $US5.00

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) was founded by Australian collector David Walsh in Hobart, Tasmania, in 2011. The intuitive arrangement of art and objects from different cultures and periods creates a modern day Wunderkammer effect that is visually spectacular and seen to be unique to MONA. Walsh challenges the sanctity of the established art museum by reorganizing presentation models and injecting an element of inquisitiveness to exhibition displays that have much to do with the prevailing culture of curiosities and the notion of time and the changing world. Although it is often described as having an immediate context in contemporary curating, I would argue, by contrast, that much of its concerns can be traced back to the recent works of French curator and museum director, Jean-Hubert Martin; his innovative arrangement of old and new art and non-art objects alongside contemporary art makes them relevant and innovative for a contemporary audience to engage with them, to arouse their curiosity, and to allow them to make sense of a changing world. Nevertheless, MONA is a museum that offers an alternative way of seeing by positioning art in a theatrical non-white cube space that emphasises a sensory and visual didacticism above all else; one that creates Martin’s museum of enchantments and curiosity by way of unconventional comparisons and juxtapositions.

Keywords: Wunderkammer, Old and New Art, Non-art Objects, Cabinet of Curiosities,, Theatrically Led Exhibition Displays

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 9, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.1-17. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 22, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 989.308KB)).

Dr Georgina Walker

Ph.D Candidate, Art History, School of Culture and Communication, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


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