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Tasmania's centerpiece in a new drive to attract tourists and settlers to the Australian island-state is The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), an avant-garde-leaning institution opening this week that will feature erotic art installations. It is Australia's largest private museum open to the public, and will showcase resident multi-millionaire David Walsh's cutting-edge collection of artists such as Damien Hirst and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as many others. The collection is appraised at one-hundred-million dollars.
Curator Mark Fraser, who was recruited from Sotheby's, said "MONA is an unmuseum, a counterpoint to museums. MONA represents David Walsh's curiosity and eagerness to question the world; we avoid any attempt at objectivity and eschew the White Cube construct. We are non-didactic — a subversive adult Disneyland."
Brian Ritchie, bassist for the Violent Femmes, is helping launch the museum with a large music festival that has already drawn over sixty-thousand people. Ritchie says "MONA will put Tasmania on the art map as a world class museum both in terms of size and content. We are already being inundated with requests from top artists all over the world to be included." I like this development. It will be nice to talk about Tasmanian art instead of you-know-what.