on being a guest

I’m back in Hobart for a couple of days. I’m meeting with a group of people tomorrow to talk about worship and progressive theology. Today I’ve been back to MONA gallery, which i first visited here, with Scott Guyatt.

I started this visit at Serrano’s Morgue, which is shown in a room that also holds Osiris’ tomb. While waiting for the people before me to come out [the room is limited to 2 people at a time], I was joined by a woman who introduced herself to me and the guide.

I really hope they have a feedback form at the end, she said, snarkily. There’s a beginning, I thought.

These things, she continued, pointing to the ipod around her neck which ‘holds’ the curators notes, They’re just ridiculous. Any real art gallery would have the white cards next to the paintings, so you can hold both in your view at once.

Oh, I said. I quite like them.

If she could have stamped she would.

She didn’t stop. The whole thing is just not set up right. It rules out a whole section of the population.

Oh?, said the guide at the Morgue door.

Nobody old would like this.

I looked around, there were a number of older people there, all looking very happy.

And if you’re disabled you can’t get around.

I looked around again, watching someone wheel himself up the ramp in his chair, and making space for the young man with down’s syndrome who was joining the queue behind us to go into the Morgue.

And this map [she gestured to the free handout from the gallery]. My daughter’s a graphic designer and she’d never put pink writing on black paper.

Right, said the guide.

He paused for a moment and then said, way more graciously than I would have. The thing I love about the gallery is that we’re being welcomed into someone’s own personal art collection. It’s his gift to us. We’re guests in his loungeroom…

It’s just not right, she said. She can’t have heard.

Oh, we said.


  1. Kel

    oh i love this story
    thank you for sharing it

    ps: i can’t wait to get there now!

  2. Thanks for sharing this story! It pretty much speaks for itself, but I’m wondering what else you’ve thought about this since then. 🙂 And, looking forward to hearing more about your worship and progressive theology talk.

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