MONA opening. Also, say yes to parties thrown by millionaires.

by Veronica on January 22, 2011

in Blogging, Gotta Laugh, Headfuck

Trying to find the words to write about the Mona opening is like stammering adjectives and spluttering lots. I’m a writer, but I’m having trouble articulating what the entire experience was like. Surreal comes to mind – and I know surreal is a word overused, but surreal is about all I can drum up.

Thanks to ABC radio and our titles of ‘Micro Critic’ we got tickets to the VIP opening, the giant party thrown by millionaire David Walsh. I was already a bit stunned by the socialite dresses and name dropping going on around me, so I shouldn’t have been shocked to see upwards of 80 lobster tails on a rotisserie as I headed down to the tennis courts and museum entrance. Glasses of champagne were handed out as we walked past and I, for the first time in a long time, had a drink as we walked.

Once inside the museum, we collected our O Device (an iPod touch, uploaded with Mona software) and walked down three stories of stairs into the depths of the museum. Open rock faces had been left exposed and I was stupidly pleased about that. There is something about the beauty of sandstone walls that makes me happy.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but a giant party in the foyer area probably wasn’t it. Maybe trays ofΒ hors d’oeuvres and a glass of wine before we walked around, but the scale of the catering left me a bit shocked.

I have expensive tastes, on a bread and butter budget. Even this was beyond what I’d expected. Tables filled with wine glasses waiting to be filled. An open bar with every conceivable drink you could want. A table piled high with nothing but fresh bread and a table next to it with cheeses. Salads served in paper cones, dished up from giant silver bowls. Prosciutto sliced in front of you. A giant blue fin tuna, just sitting on ice – an accompaniment to the finest sashimi. Hundreds of oysters on ice. Russian caviar worth $200 for 25g, being handed out on spoons and washed down with good vodka shots (that I declined).

Like I said, astounding. Really, for me, a once in a lifetime experience.

The museum is indescribable. Sex and death combine with art to create something that is offensive, shocking, breathtaking and brilliant. I wasn’t offended, but the wall of vaginas appeared to upset some of the men. 151 vaginas were modeled, while a master carver carved them (we think in wax, but it’s a bit unclear) and then cast them to display. The effect is astounding, as you walk down a hallway with a line of vulvas looking at you.

Personally, that was one of my favourite exhibits and something that every teenage girl should see. The range of normal is beautiful and not something we get to see often. I think it does however need a companion work of 151 penises, but that’s my bias coming through.

I loved it. The whole experience was something I doubt I’ll get to repeat ever again and I am intensely excited at the thought of showing it all to Nathan, who is staunchly anti-artwank and who is looking forward to seeing it.

Even more than that, I am really interested to see what this does for Tasmania as a whole. We’ve now got one of the best private museums in the world and I couldn’t be more proud.

I ended up getting to chat to some very interesting people, care of introductions from Stephen Estcourt. The very lovely Lindsay Tuffin and Richard Flanagan for starters. Both incredibly interesting men that I’d look forward to talking with again. I’m a fan of both of their work, Lindsay’s website is excellent and Richard’s writing, well. Brilliant comes to mind. I also met Leo Schofield and his wife, who are both lovely.

I also talked to Kylie Kwong for a bit too and did an excellent job of not fangirling at her.

It’s going to take a while to be able to fall back into real life after this. We’re on the radio again on Monday – 8.40am, live as far as I know. You can listen to that live streaming with this link.

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem January 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Sounds AMAZING, Veronica. VERY jealous. I love that stuff, altho, I wouldn’t have liked the vajay-jay stuff myself. πŸ˜‰

Did you meet Nomie?

Veronica January 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm

No! Naomi and I managed to miss each other. Very disappointed.

Fiona January 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Sounds lovely πŸ™‚ Love big do’s like that.

An who wouldn’t love a wall of vulvas?

Veronica January 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I loved the entire thing, but there was so much, I can’t go into everything. And I’m fairly sure I’ve only seen 1/2 of the exhibits so far.

Jayne January 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm

The opening sounds good, really looking forward to visiting Tassie and seeing this wonderful museum for myself πŸ™‚

Veronica January 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm

You truly have to. It’s unmissable.

Wanderlust January 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Sounds like an incredible few days! And a wall of vulvas to top it all off. Just wow.

Veronica January 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm

It’s been a very long, very amazing week. It feels like I’ve been on holidays.

Sharnee January 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Oh I was looking forward to your review – sounds fantastically overindulgent (that is a good thing, and you’re right, a one-in-a-lifetime experience).

I LOVE art that pushes boundaries… will have to get down to Hobart sometime soon to visit it.

Veronica January 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm

You will love Mona. The vaginas are only the tip of the iceberg, when you’ve got exhibits including a dead suicide bomber cast in dark chocolate (that I didn’t see yet) and a machine that turns food into poo – the premise being that most art is crap anyway. It’s intense and it sort of alternately makes me want to rave about it, or cry.

Mrs Woog January 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I just read the article in the Herald about it – sounds Amazing! Lucky you xo

Veronica January 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Do you have a link to the Herald article? I’m devouring everything I can get my fingertips on.

sharon January 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm

You lucky girl πŸ˜‰ The artworks sound stunning and I hope you managed to enjoy many morsels from the delicious array of foods.

Veronica January 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm

The artworks are breathtaking. I can’t wait to go back.

Kirrily January 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Wow, how surreal for you to get up close like that. It sounds exhilirating. LOL at your companion wall of 151 penises idea!

Veronica January 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I think 151 penises would be fantastic! Or maybe I’m just a voyeur at heart. Heh.

BendyGirl January 23, 2011 at 3:07 am

How exciting! Really looking forward to seeing your photos of the vulva exhibition! BG Xx

Veronica January 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm

I’m going to take my proper camera next time and hope that I can get permission to post photos.

Julia January 23, 2011 at 1:39 pm

What a great time! I love museums and can so relate to the expensive tastes on a bread and butter budget. Maybe with your new connections you can talk to the right people to make this a traveling show to Texas! Also would never have heard about it w/o the web – thanks technology and Veronica.

Veronica January 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Technology is fantastic! I wouldn’t have met nearly as many people without it.

Watershedd January 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Brilliant way to spend a couple of weeks, by the sound of things. I’ve just read the last few posts – was too bogged down in my own writing panic for the book deadline to read much out there, but I did notice the Tweeting. Keep enjoying.

Veronica January 23, 2011 at 7:40 pm

It has been an intense week, that’s for sure. Falling back into regular life has been harder than I’d anticipated.

river January 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm

A wall of genitalia? Hmmm. I’m more interested in your food descriptions.
I’m salivating here at the thought of 80 lobster tails. Oh yum!

Veronica January 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm

The food was like nothing I’ll ever get to see again.

rachael January 24, 2011 at 5:54 am

Fantastic. I’m completely envious, and so excited for you.

Ruth January 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I am so jealous of you! I just saw the museum yesterday – what an amazing array of artwork! I was so very taken with the taxidermy pieces, which is still pressing on my conscience because I’m vegetarian. My creative mind was blasted into hyperdrive – so much so that when The Scientists of Modern Music played their set, all I could do was sit down on the grass in bewilderment (usually I’d be front and center, jumping around and mocking everyone still sitting down). I’m still coming to terms with all the beauty and awe-inspiring craziness!

Torkona February 21, 2011 at 11:30 pm

The wall of vulvas sounds somehow intriguing yet i really dont want to see it! but I do, argh! i cant decide πŸ˜‰

(comment from mysterious Torkona award reviewer) hehehe.

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