Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA)

· Thursday October 21, 2010

Once confined to the no-man's land of Clayton, the Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) is about to open the doors of its new home on the Uni's Caulfield campus, a mere 15 minutes from the coffee belt by train.

For those not already in the know, it's MUMA like mumma not MUMA like boomer. But either way, don't let the parental name put you off. Housing one of the country's largest collections of Australian contemporary art (they've had a constant acquisitions program since 1961), MUMA has long been recognised in art circles for its dedication to the avant-garde, experimental and challenging.

The new museum is double the size of the old digs and features an array of gallery spaces and a sculpture garden. Not only that, Dandenong Road will never be the same, with the permanent installation of Callum Morton's sculpture Silverscreen - a life-size frame of a drive-in screen, jutting out onto the road.

The sheer scale of the collection is reflected in the inaugural exhibition, Change (named after the late Blair Trethowan's awesome neon word work). Iconic paintings by Howard Arkley and John Brack sit side by side with the likes of Tracey Moffatt, Marco Fustinato and Susan Norrie. Be warned though, they're not kidding about presenting the tough stuff. Mike Parr's political piece Close the concentration camps is screening in the back gallery - and if you pass out it's a long way back to the carpark.

Image:
Matthew Jones, The New York Daily News on the day before the Stonewall Riot, copied by hand from microfilm records, 2997