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Tasmania for Avant-Garde Art

New York to Tasmania = 30 hours

“Subversive adult Disneyland” probably isn’t the first phrase that comes to mind when conjuring Tasmania. But in the past year, that’s exactly what the suburb of ­Berriedale, just north of Hobart, has become. That this speck on the Derwent River has morphed into a hotbed of outré culture has everything to do with Tasmanian art collector, gambler, and provocateur David Walsh, who last January made his private collection public via the Museum of Old and New Art ($20; 651-655 Main Rd.; 03-6277-9900). Here, hundreds of audacious artworks are displayed in underground galleries hewn from sandstone. Permanent-­collection pieces include Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca Professional, which moves food through a series of chambers to simulate a digestive system (yes, it excretes); a piece from Damien Hirst’s “Cancer Chronicles,” in which hundreds of dead flies are set in resin; and Chris Ofili’s controversial elephant-dung painting The Holy Virgin Mary. Certainly these works invite discussion, if not strong reactions, but others, including Sidney ­Nolan’s Snake—which incorporates 1,620 individual paintings into a sinuous, reptilian whole—are arrestingly beautiful. Since MONA’s 64,500 square feet of exhibition space can overwhelm, it’s best to spread a visit over several days. Hobart’s 56-room Henry Jones Art ­Hotel (from $195; 25 Hunter St.; thehenryjones.com) occupies a former 1804 factory and displays paintings, sculpture, and photography from local artists throughout the property. For a full-on MONA experience, though, book one of the eight art-themed pavilions that are part of the museum complex (from $500; mona.net.au); dine on chef Philippe Leban’s new-school-­locavore cuisine at on-site restaurant the Source; and get tipsy at the compound’s Moo Brew ­microbrewery and Moorilla Winery. Because every adult who goes to Disneyland ends up needing a drink.


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