International gambler who made millions playing poker, blackjack and other card games has created an art museum at his home down in Hobart. He has named the museum as Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and has collected odds and ends from all over the world to make it a unique place. The first object in his collection is a Yoruba door from Johannesburg, Africa which was brought by his friend as part payment for a gambling deal in 1992. For nearly five years he kept it as a memento at home. He purchased an old winery Moorilla and later converted it into MONA.
About David Walsh
As an Australian citizen David is well recognized for the humongous fort like museum that he has built in Hobart, Tasmania which is hailed for its innovative collection of modern art. His excellent knowledge of mathematics and ability to read cards before they fall from a stack helped him win several millions through a 12-member gambling syndicated called Bank Roll. His gambling career started at Hobart casino where he met Zeljko Ranogajec and they decided to combine their capabilities to try new tricks and win at poker and blackjack. Both made millions playing at casinos around the world from Las Vegas to South America, Macau and back to Australia. His quixotic lifestyle and ideas have made him an enigma in society and his mathematical abilities, which helped him become a blackjack professional are attributed to Asperger’s disease.
The first time David opened an art museum was in May 1996 as a Moorilla Museum of Antiquities he shut down in 2006 due to lack of visitors. He then decided to make something totally unconventional and built MONA at a cost of $100 million and spent $80 million on exhibits. The extravagant museum opened to large crowds who were entranced with the dark themes and unusual entry to the museum. Mona was designed by Nonda Katsalidis who is also a good friend of this gambler turned philanthropist and art collector. She was assisted by a junior artist who designed the museum’s riverside pavilions along with its bars and cafes. An interesting feature of the museum consists of modified iPod Touch system, which tells the visitor about the exhibit before them while listening to the artist’s interview in the background.