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This week, Nicole Durling announced she would be stepping down as Director of Collections and Exhibitions of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart.

Nicole Durling, MONA, Senior Curator. Courtesy MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Photo: MONA/Rémi Chauvin.

Beginning her journey with MONA when David Walsh's private semi-subterranean museum in Tasmania was in its infancy, Nicole Durling played a prominent part in the institution's development, as Australia's largest private museum.

In her directorial role Durling steered MONA, through a rough period when it was forced to close by Covid-19 in March last year. Reopening on boxing day, the gallery came out of hibernation with revamped galleries and new installations, including a seven-metre-high bronze sculpture by Tom Otterness that doubles as a children's slide.

James Turrell at Museum of Old & New Art, Tasmania. Photo: Georges Armaos.

Acknowledging the artists, visitors and staff that made the MONA experience what it is, and thanking David Walsh for the experience, Durling announced it is now time for her to walk down a different path.

Durling will remain on as curator for Crone (2021), the upcoming solo exhibition of Hobart multimedia artist Sally Rees which was postponed last year. She will also be focusing on her role as director on the board of Melbourne's RISING festival–an international cultural event which will launch its inaugural event on 26 May 2021. Reflecting on her time at MONA, Durling told 'Overall I take much pride in the impact Mona has had on the community, locally, nationally and internationally' and in her departing email Durling hopefully expressed, 'I know Mona will continue to create remarkable things.'

Candice Breitz at Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Tasmania. Photo: Georges Armaos.

News of Nicole Durling's departure comes less than a week after Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, director of Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art Australia for 22 years, announced she would be stepping down in October. Praised for bringing the Australian institution 'from the brink of insolvency' when she took on the role, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor is passing on the mantel for the post-Covid recovery phase, in order to return to her family in the U.K.

Replacements for Macgregor and Durling are both yet to be announced. —[O]

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