THE ART OF AFTER HOURS: THE RISE OF EMPTY MUSEUM GOING

James Turrell, <em>Amarna</em>, #emptyMONA.  Photo: @hattty_.

The crowds have gotten so overwhelming at the world’s most famous museums that a whole movement has sprung up around visiting after-hours, when you don’t have to worry about constantly bumping into other guests. The latest institution to embrace the movement and popular Instagram hashtag #empty is the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), in Hobart, Tasmania.

We can all agree that the art museum experience would be much more enjoyable without the crowds, but unless you’ve got an impressive Instagram following, these unique museum visits are off-limits.

The trend was born at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which began inviting a few select Instagrammers to photograph its sacred halls in after-hours private tours this past spring (see The Met Gives Instagram Influencers an All-Access Pass).

#emptyMONA.  Photo: @loves_laughs.

One might expect that crowds wouldn’t be an issue at MONA, located in isolated Tasmania, but the offbeat art museum has actually become a surprise hit for the otherwise infrequently-touristed island (see Gambling Millionaire David Walsh’s Kooky Tasmania Museum MONA Clocks 1 Million Visitors and Tasmanian Millionaire Wants to Build Casino in His Museum).

Sidney Nolan, <em>Snake</em>, #emptyMONA.  Photo: @lifecatchme.

For the special Instagram event, 30 avid users of the photo-sharing app were shipped in from around the region, some travelling from as far away as Melbourne. This elite group enjoyed a special dinner and unfettered access to MONA’s current Matthew Barney exhibition, “River of Fundament” (closing this weekend), and the newly acquired Amarna, a glowing James Turrell gazebo installed on the museum’s rooftop plaza.

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