About the Series
Prepare to be surprised and inspired as the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia brings you ARTBAR – curated by artists.
Sponsored by German luxury carmaker Audi and held on the last Friday of each month ARTBAR takes your gallery experience and flips it on its head through art, music, design and performance.
Each evening is conceived as a unique experience, ensuring that there is always something different to savour.
It’s art but not as you know it.
2014 ARTBAR Dates announced shortly…
Explore past ARTBAR photo galleries by scrolling down the page
Tony Albert – Fri 29 Nov 2013
Alaska Projects – Fri 25 Oct 2013
Primavera Edition – Fri 27 Sep 2013
Lauren Brincat – Fri 30 Aug 2013
Maria Fernanda Cardoso – Fri 26 Jul 2013
Tully Arnot – Fri 28 Jun 2013
Keg de Souza – Fri 31 May 2013
Workout Edition – Fri 26 Apr 2013
Michaela Gleave – Fri 22 Mar 2013
Emma Price – Fri 22 Feb 2013
Brook Andrew – Fri 25 Jan 2013
Jon Campbell – Fri 26 Nov 2012
Nell – Fri 26 Oct 2012
Daniel Boyd – Fri 28 Sep 2012
Shaun Gladwell – Fri 31 Aug 2012
Jess Olivieri – Fri 27 Jul 2012
Eddie Sharp – Fri 29 Jun 2012
Justene Williams – Fri 25 May 2012
What’s happening at the next MCA ARTBAR? Subscribe here and find out
I’m dreamin’ of a blak Christmas
Fri 29 Nov 2013
On Friday 29 November we said no to reindeers, roast turkey and rosy cheeks and yes to the very last ARTBAR driven by Audi of 2013 – I’m Dreamin’ of a Blak Christmas.
We decked the halls to evoke the quintessential summertime venue, the great Australian pub. We won Blak Christmas games, Lucky Door Prizes and danced the night away to Aussie rock classics performed by local pub cover-band The Shout Brothers. Boat-people.org tested our Australiana knowledge issuing on-the-spot trivia challenges.
Blak Santa (aka the infamous Richard Bell) determined who’d been naughty and who’d been nice and issued some early Christmas presents. Artists Jodie Whalen, Jason Wing, Emma Price, Adam Norton and others with shared their private collections.
This jam-packed evening also included collage workshops with Rolande Souliere, a very special performance by David Page and a live Miley-esque twerking performance.
We filled out stockings with Christmas gifts including artworks donated by Deborah Kelly, Tony Albert and Daniel Boyd.
It was Christmas, but not as you know it.
Halloween TV Party
Fri 25 Oct 2013
Gone were the days of human sacrifice, devils trapped in pumpkins, purgatory protection cupcakes and celebrating the dead. On Friday October 25 the MCA and Kings Cross Artist Run Initiative ALASKA Projects joined to celebrate living artists for MCA ARTBAR driven by Audi – ALASKA PROJECTS, HALLOWEEN TV PARTY.
This ARTBAR was inspired by a seminal late 70’s New York public access television series TV PARTY with ALASKA Projects creating a glamorous world peppered with Zombies, Warholesque silver material, TV Static and dancing girls.
There were all the key elements you’ve grown to love from ARTBAR such as lectures, screenings, bands and performances – but add a touch of spooky irreverence.
Artists Rochelle Hayley and Monika Behrens collaborated with academic Prue Gibson to create a workshop where participants designed their own love potion to take away and use on an unwitting victim.
The lecture theatre featured renowned photographer Samuel Hodge performing a humorous slide show of his recent European sojourn. Artist and academic, Dr Oliver Watts will delivered a lecture on lecture theatres whilst fellow academic Dr Alex Munt performed a love letter to actress Edie Sedgwick.
Musically, ALASKA’s own orchestra Musical Alaska will performed in the Primavera Galleries whilst on the main stage musicians Tom Smith, Golden Blonde and Yoke performed.
There was Halloween magic on the Sculpture Terrace with DJs and other hidden surprises including make shift artists’ studio, a camp site and representation of ALASKAs tiny 5×5 meter art space.
We left Jack and his lanterns at home and to live a little.
Fri 27 Sep 2013
For this special edition of ARTBAR driven by Audi, we saw Primavera 2013: Young Australian Artists like never before as Jacqueline Ball (WA), Jackson Eaton (WA/VIC), Heath Franco (NSW), Thomas Jeppe (WA/VIC), Jess Johnson (VIC), Juz Kitson (NSW), Kusum Normoyle (NSW) and curator Robert Cook returned to the MCA to extend the exhibition’s themes with additional artistic content spilling out of the gallery on Friday 27 September.
The Museum came alive with one-night-only performances from Jackson, Heath and Kusum; music programming by Jacqueline; performance programming by Juz; a music line-up (including Steele Bonus, Roman Wafers, Horse Macgyver and Standish Carlyon) and an installation by Thomas; plus a stairwell soundscape from Jess.
Primavera’s curator Robert Cook teamed up with the MCA’s artist-in-residence Benjamin Forster for a lecture titled Robert and Benjamin: Being honest with strangers. MCA ARTBAR – Primavera Edition also featured the artists as DJs all-night-long.
This was Primavera live, unplugged and off-the-hook.
Drum Roll Please
Fri 30 Aug 2013
DRUM ROLL PLEASE … Sydney multimedia artist Lauren Brincat said 'thank you for the music’ at MCA ARTBAR driven by Audi on Friday 30 August. This ARTBAR continued tradition presenting unexpected one-night-only art, music and performance events.
Piano accordions echoed and followed guests through the Museum, played by Monika Brooks and Laura Altman. Australian percussionist Bree van Reyk, indie percussion artist in her own right and ongoing collaborator of Brincat, composed Mexico City soundscapes, and musicians Jack Ladder and Swimwear played you on the night.
There was a dancehall lesson on the Sculpture Terrace to the sounds of DJs JMS, Tim Moore and Charlie Villas. ARTBAR-goers got down and boogied to disco, reggae, funk and soul.
Swedish artist Johanna Billing’s You Don’t Love Me Yet was played in its latest rendition by multi disciplinary performers across Sydney in the MCA Foyer and ABC’s Rage Producer, Tyson Koh, presented a lecture on the history of the video clip and took us down memory lane. There were performances by Batterie, Laurenz Pike and Nomad Percussion.
At this ARTBAR we marched to the beat of our own drum.
Maria Fernanda Cardoso
Fri 26 Jul 2013
Maria Fernanda Cardoso invited you to spend the night of Friday 26 July as Mother Nature intended. Leaving your inhibitions at the Museum door and embracing the artist’s nominated theme of Sex Everywhere*.
The MCA transformed into Fernanda Cardoso’s Museum of Copulatory Organs (MoCO) – an installation celebrating the diversity and complexity in genitalic structures across the animal kingdom, first shown at the 18th Biennale of Sydney in 2012.
This arousing exploration into the urban ecosystem of animal and plant reproduction was carried throughout the Museum. We watched Isabella Rosselini being caressed by dolphins. Undressed a flower. Responded to the calls of the wild when Sydney artist Gary Warner’s soundscape of mating calls permeated the Museum. We Witnessed scientist Jurgen Otto’s footage of the amazing mating dances of male Peacock Spiders. We got hands-on as old technology met new in the Camera Lucida Workshop with Qld Museum’s Geoff Thompson. Print your own 3D models of reproductive morphologies with Andrew Simpson from Vert Design. Performers Clare Grant and Nikki Haywood will read excerpts from an animal sex advice column. We listened to sexy science word plays by Ruark Lewis. All to tropical Latin beats by DJ Raul Pa Nui and DJ Señor Bambú.
And if watching was more your thing, we enjoy X-rated screenings of snails mating, penis fencing and shark threesomes, hand-picked by Fernanda Cardoso.
Believe it or not, MCA ARTBAR driven by Audi.
*sex is prohibited in the Museum
Fri 28 Jun 2013
We immersed ourselves in the speculative and visionary worlds of artists, eccentrics and the occasional cyborg as our June curator, Tully Arnot, explored new possibilities for reality at MCA ARTBAR Unreal!
We reveled in this one-night-only art, music and performance event while drinking with friends – real and imaginary.
We discovered the utopia of the individual creative mind with inventive and idealistic visions provided by June’s artists. We experienced visual and aural manifestations by Chris Petro and Tim Dwyer, attended Christine Sun Kim’s silent opera exploring the limits of language through facial expression and sign language, took an audio tour with Gregory and Watts and saw Charles Dennington’s unusual inflatable sculptural installation plus much more.
We saw and felt in a new way when Tully brought digital technologies, projections and DJs to ARTBAR to augment our reality and made the intangible, tangible. Unreal!
Keg de Souza
Fri 31 May 2013
We celebrated MCA ARTBAR driven by Audi’s first birthday in May experimenting with the theme of weird science curated by Sydney artist Keg de Souza. From the 1985 teen sci-fi film classic by John Hughes to the literal meaning of weird science, Keg invited us to interpret the evening as we saw fit. We pondered the vast meaning and strangeness of our modern scientific accomplishments.
We Stepped inside an inflatable planetarium and took in some screenings from the infamous Mu Meson archives. We encountered Wade Marynowsky’s robots, Diego Bonetto’s test-tube gardens and Justice Yeldham’s unhealthy obsession with sheets of broken glass. For our very first birthday strange happened in dark corners of the MCA. We hypothesised on the sculpture terrace for one of the most magical views of Vivid in Sydney.
Fri 26 Apr 2013
We flexed our minds, enjoyed a night of conceptual physicality, and trained to gain in April for MCA ARTBAR – Workout Edition.
For the first time ever MCA ARTBAR chose seven artists and collaborative groups to help us work our inner artistic core through mental push ups, intellectual stretches and inspirational lycra-clad montages. David Capra, Domenico de Clario, Brian Fuata, Sarah Goffman, Agatha Gothe-Snape with Susan Gibb, The Motel Sisters (Liam Benson & Naomi Oliver) and Jodie Whalen joined us from Workout, a one week exhibition at the MCA drawing on the double meaning of workout as both a strenuous exercise routine and a test of performance capability. We Witnessed the fitness as the artists took their performances from day to night, challenging our ideas of creative stamina and making us feel the burn. We kept in time with the aerobics beat and were sure to stay in time with the class.
Fri 22 Mar 2013
We looked up at the sky in March at MCA ARTBAR driven by Audi, as we headed into the Aether with Michaela Gleave, and had our mind scanned. We Witnessed constellations of live ballerinas and took the solar system home in our pocket.
We joined Kate Mitchell in her adventures down the rabbit hole, and followed Ray Norris out into the cosmos with the art and science of Indigenous Astronomy. We Reached for the stars on the sculpture terrace with DJ Hubble and DJ Arianne.
We were overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of the Universe – but didn’t fear – real astronomers handled real telescopes to guide us home. Down below we were awed by the microtonal musings of Amanda Cole and her trio of glass harmonicas and joined Hossein Ghaemi and his troupe as they ventured their way through the Museum.
We took a trip in the Space Elevator and prepared for a night of cosmology, costumes and custom cocktails and found out that space really is the final frontier.
ART (BAR) IS FOR LOVERS.
Fri 22 Feb 2013
We puckered up as Emma Price (The Kingpins) presented a night of heavy petting for music, museum and art lovers alike. Roving performance, video installations and random acts of desire turned the MCA into a temple of love.
Scott Redford, The Kingpins, and Sam Doctor explored the rituals of sex and space. David McDiarmid, Liz Ham, Richard Goodwin, Doctor Lisa Cooper and Daniel Mudie Cunningham flirted with themes of intimacy and desire.
We witnessed passionate performances by Betty Grumble, Sarah Coconis, Kieran Bryant, Beth Dillon and Nick Fox, plus a two-part love story lecture presented by Craig Judd.
A make out, make up or break up live set was delivered by concrete jungle beat queens TWINCEST, plus La Mancha Negra’s Tsunami swamp heartbreak blues and Punk F*ck love by Glory Hole.
Eternal honeymooners, heavy metal serenades, flesh and thorns and clown-on-punk live action happened as Stephen Allkins spun four hours of heart-stopping beats.
And there was a kissing booth (of sorts).
Emma Price proved that there IS such a thing as love at first sight.
Images: The incredible, friendly and ever professional Catherine McElhone
Fri 25 Jan 2013
We cast off 2013 with MCA ARTBAR curated by Brook Andrew.
Guests were socially challenged and experienced an evening of activity that was available only to select members of Brook’s new world order.
With priority zones, restricted access, performances by Constantina Bush, George Tillianakis and Liam Benson, plus pole dancing magic by Matthew Shields; no class or group remained untouched. Guests Immersed themselves in Brook’s projections and iconic views of Sydney Harbour while DJs Leo Tanoi and Perfect Snatch took hold of the Sculpture Terrace.
Elated, alienated and celebrated guests explored themes of race and culture through a unique point of view, and embraced these differences on the eve of Australia Day.
It was Hunger Games crossed with Apocalypto as guests were questioned on whether they belong in the upper echelons or the proletariats ready to rise in revolt?
Images: Catherine McElhone
Shit Yeah — Jon Campbell rocks the MCA
Fri 26 Nov 2012
The last MCA ARTBAR of the year was aptly titled Shit Yeah — Jon Campbell rocks the MCA. Melbourne based Campbell used satire, a wry Australian vernacular and plain old rock’n’roll to serenade Sydneysiders into summer.
Featuring sounds on the terrace by DJ duo ‘Dads with Earrings’, acoustic performances, lectures by the artist and friends, gallery tours with a twist and an elevator performance by Peter Oxley of 80’s pop-rock sensation ‘The Sunnyboys’ we surely ended the year with a bang.
Jon exhibited at MCA in 2009 and returned in 2012 to Sydney specifically forARTBAR, to which we said ‘Shit Yeah’.
Images: Catherine McElhone
Dead or Alive
Fri 26 Oct 2012
Artist Nell took us to grave new heights with October’s MCA ARTBAR which coincided with Halloween, loosely themed Dead or Alive.
In domestic inspired boudoirs, private view areas, lectures on Nose to Tail consumption, plenty of live music from White Knuckle Fever and some of The Mumps and a dance lesson on the sculpture terrace by Swingin’ Kitten, Nell wove a cobweb of influences from fashion to free-association, intimacy to impermanence, ethics to excitement and karma to craziness into her uniquely chilling and spine tingling effigy to life ‘n’ death. T-Shirts made with label ‘Romance Was Born’ were worn by our very own Visitor Services Officers and sold through the MCA Store.
Richards Larter’s racy work played in a sealed off room, Kylie Kwong introduced and later wrapped a pig in a dissection lecture Q & A and the MCA was filled with ghosts, Dracula, a giant fly and party monsters. Even a meat raffle – but not as you know it.
Images: Catherine McElhone
Up in Smoke Tour
Fri 28 Sep 2012
September was dubbed the Up in Smoke Tour by artist Daniel Boyd.
Daniel took us on a musical and informative journey into a modern-day interpretation of the enlightenment era, with DJs Captain Franco and Elston and, later in the evening, The Canyons playing a retrospective sound odyssey that excited all.
With video works by Daniel projected across the sculpture terrace surfaces, a room of Daniels re-imagining of film Les statues meurent aussi a discussion titled 'When I die bury me inside the Gucci store, I don’t want to end up in a Museum’ with the artist and Djon Mundine, Matt Poll and John von Sturmer, performance in the gallery by Tony Albert working with collection artist Vernon Ah Kee to transform his portraits, decommissioned skull boxes from the Natural History Museum London, Tracey Moffatt’s Other immersing guests in the seminar room and DJ set by friends of the artist Canyons.
Images: James Brown
Fri 31 Aug 2012
From Sydney to London, and back for a short time only, guests joined Shaun Gladwell in his digital and retrospective performance landscapes on August 31 2012.
Gladwell took charge of the wheel and delivered a special high octane edition ARTBAR, making unique changes to the MCA Collection galleries.
Lectures in 'How to Drop Freud into a Conversation at an Opening’, finger boarding workshops, interceptors from cult film Mad Max, an appearance from recently departed rapper MCA, guards patrolling crowds and gallery work, bikes in the gallery spaces, DJ sets by Slow Blow and live music from Toy Death, the night was well and truly stimulating.
Taking over the entire wing the event included the opportunity to view the new selection of works in Volume One: MCA Collection on Level 2.
Images: Catherine McElhone
Fri 27 Jul 2012
Nodding cheekily to the 18th Biennale of Sydney: all our relations, Jess Olivieri invited guests to join her and her artistic ‘relatives’ on Friday 27 July 2012.
Showcasing new work by Wrong Solo and featuring a karaoke massage there was plenty of touching family moments to share throughout the night.
Sarah Rodigari appeared through her totemic representative goat, David Capra delighted in a white ‘onesie’-inspired outfit and kicked off the night with an oversized hello, accompanied by the sounds of the Aurora Australia Choir singing Hello to arriving patrons.
Guests brought clothes that required a mend, as Jess’ Mum stepped into Lee Mingwei’s shoes for the night. She bonded through the act of mending and conversation.
The event took over the entire wing and included the opportunity to view the Biennale spaces on Levels 1 and 3.
Images: David Cheng
Fri 29 Jun 2012
Guests were invited to step into Eddie Sharp’s ARTBAR (and mind) on Friday 29 June.
They discovered the inspirations of Eddie and his collaborators as they combined talents and turned the MCA into their own lurid video candy land.
David Harris AKA DJ Toecutter came all the way from Pony Land to manipulate sound into something close to dance music (which even had our director Liz Ann dancing) and, there were projections exploring vomit in cinema, John Kilduff’s multi-tasking master class streamed live from Los Angeles from his treadmill, pinball pianolas, blue screen lounges VJ’d by Tully Arnot and DJ sets by artist Dara Gill. Lectures included Simon Hunt’s Doppelganger − 'Being Pauline Hanson’ about his rise to fame as Pauline Pantsdown and 60’s 3D cinema, with Eddie himself lecturing on the history of 3D.
Plus, guests had the opportunity to be among the first to enjoy the 18th Biennale of Sydney on Levels 1 and 3 just days after it opened at the MCA.
Images: Catherine McElhone
Fri 25 May 2012
Taking over the last Friday of each month, we prepared to offer a new gallery experience and inspire Sydney as the MCA ARTBAR − curated by artists was born.
Drawing inspiration from Volume One: MCA Collection, the first ARTBAR kicked off on 25 May 2012 with Sydney-based photographer and video artist Justene Williams, whose Crutch Dance (2011) television installation was on display in the MCA’s Level 1 South Gallery.
The ARTBAR launch was also held on the same day as Vivid Sydney’s opening night, so guests were among the first to experience this novel gathering and get the best view of Vivid’s light installations.
ARTBAR launched by taking the gallery experience and flipping it on its head through art, music, design and performance. Guests were invited to drink, dare, discover and be driven wild with artistic excitement. Each event was revealed as a unique and vastly different experience from the last and ARTBAR’s tagline was born − It’s art but not as you know it.
With an awesome line up of DJ’s − Charlie Chux (Abercrombie) Perfect Snatch (Gay Bash, Shameless) Touch Sensitive (Van She) Tyson Koh (Loose Joints FBI & Clambake) – no one left heavy hearted.
There was a poetic Sydney bridge, free hot shaves for all, a view of the Vivid light show which Justene worked on with will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas for Vivid AND karaoke with consequences which streamed surreptitiously upstairs to screens on the dance floor.
It was an epic launch to the series and MCA and Audi began the journey with a sold out event and new and returning visitors of the MCA.
Images: Catherine McElhone