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By Cordelia Williamson
January 24, 2020


Submit to the power of love in all its messy, strange and uncontainable glory.
By Cordelia Williamson
January 24, 2020

in partnership with


The MCA's after-dark, adults-only art party is back this February. While last year saw the gallery transform into an underworld of pagan mystery and a steamy tropical forest, the first ARTBAR of the year is all about love. Happening a week before Valentine's Day, this party is more about non-traditional ideas of romance than it is about over-priced roses and cheesy cards.

Curated by Eveleigh-based Performance Space, the night will look beyond the Hallmark idea of love and, instead, celebrate everything from friendships and pets to queer relationships, dendrophilia, self-love and biological bonds. Expect lots of dancing to breakup bangers, love potions and art that challenges conventional love.

Highlights include artist, writer and sex worker Queenie Bon Bon performing a spoken word piece about the sex industry and a series of tarot card projections that pays homage to love in different places around the world by artists Jermaine Dean and Jaimie Waititi. Plus, a video by EO Gill centering on 'feelings of incompleteness, ambiguity and multiplicity with relation to trans identities' — and mask-making workshops by Pony Express, the folks behind Ecosexual Bathhouse.

After getting your art fix, head up to the rooftop, grab a drink and boogie to the beat of your heart, with Sidehustle DJs spinning a bunch of anti-love songs, from the soulful pain of Ne-Yo to the triumph of Cher's 'Strong Enough'.

Plus, you'll be able to check out the retrospective exhibition of British female artist Cornelia Parker, which wraps up on February 16. While usually ticketed, the exhibition will be open after dark for ARTBAR attendees, so you can check out her powerful, haunting and often violent works for free.

ARTBAR usually sells out, so be sure to grab your tickets sooner rather than later. Love will take over the MCA on Friday, February 7, from 7–11pm.

Queenie Bon Bon, image courtesy of the artist, photograph Micah Couell.

Top images (in order): Liam Cameron; Kate Beynon; Jermaine Dean and Jaimie Waititi; and Jacqui Manning.

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