Warhol Month event review: Warhol After Dark, the guided walk

By - Tuesday 26th September, 2017

An art adventure by night on the streets of Croydon town centre

Young Warhol by Ron English.
Photo author’s own.

Another day, another remarkable Andy Warhol-themed event as part of Croydon’s superb Warhol Month. The festival, which marks thirty years since the death of the artist, has been running throughout September and has included talks, exhibits, workshops and film screenings. It’s the brainchild of Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison, founder of RISE Gallery in St George’s Walk, who to Croydon’s good fortune just happens to be a leading expert on the subject.

There’s no link at all between Warhol and Croydon, and therefore no reason for any of it. This has been pointed out – though I’ve no idea why. Since when did we need a reason to fill the streets with art, learn, enjoy and make our town a more exciting place? A creator like Warhol belongs to everyone.

Chelsea Girl by Ben Eine.
Photo author’s own.

I also chose the night walk because autumn evenings are just so depressing. I hoped that a blaze of art might help with the grimness of ever-earlier darkness and suspend, at least for a while, the threat of Christmas. And indeed it did; the walk was a wonderful experience. It was also free, as is every aspect of Warhol Month, which intends to include everyone. It wasn’t hosted by Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison himself; he was at the Braithwaite Hall with international art expert Henry Koelsch, who had flown in from the United States to lecture. So enthusiast Mark Bevan took his place and did a great job, leading our group around the twelve town centre locations and telling us knowledgeably about the works.

If Warhol Came To England by Peter Dunne.
Photo author’s own.

The twelve pieces are inspired by Warhol and pay tribute to him. Find out more about each one, and about the artists, here. The walk has already been expertly reviewed by the Citizen’s Bernadette Fallon so I’ll only add to this the sense of drama I felt in seeing the works after dark. Their vivid pop art sensibility mirrors the night-time cityscape of Croydon: Boxpark’s blacks and reds, Saffron’s purple, the Whitgift Centre’s electric blue, the green of a tram flashing by.

Love Letters Only by Mark Petty.
Photo author’s own.

The only way to end the night was with the man himself, back at RISE Gallery where a number of original works are being exhibited. There’s something amazing about the actual thingsthe canvas he touched, the materials that the artist’s mind and imagination worked on. After two hours of art appreciation (which had felt like forty-five minutes) I was struck in particular by Warhol’s Jagger. Its colours are extraordinary but it’s such a minimalist piece, capturing the raw presence of the young rock star in so few lines and strokes that you can’t help but wonder at it. A tiny kink in a line on paper and our brains do the rest, creating those cheekbones from nothing. It’s a work of genius.

Many, many thanks to Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison and RISE Gallery for Warhol Month. Exciting, thought-provoking art – just down Croydon High Street.

And the month’s not over: you can still do the walks by daylight, which run daily. To see a full Warhol Month programme, click here

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Writer and editor. Views personal, not representative of editorial policy.

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  • Anne Giles

    The threat of Christmas? We always look forward to Christmas. Why is it a threat?

    • Steve Thompson

      Anne, the fact that you (royal we?) look forward to Christmas is irrelevant here. For those who adhere to the purer Christian Christmas, absolutely it is one of the two major events in the Church calendar. Outside of the Church, Christmas has become so horribly commercial that it fills me with dread once the displays start appearing in late August. Christmas (office) parties have also made some pubs and restaurants virtual no-go zones in December. Please realise that many people do dread Christmas as it has now become.

      • Anne Giles

        I think you misunderstood my comment. It was a question, not a criticism. Liz is a friend and a lovely lady. We (husband and I) don’t do Christianity. I am not a member of the Royal family. When I type ‘we’ I am referring to my husband and myself. We (husband and I) don’t go to pubs, but we do have a meal out when restaurants are less busy. We don’t spend much on presents either, as they are all paid for out of my Nectar card points. I don’t go to shops, as I am disabled and generally purchase from Amazon for anything I can’t get at Sainsbury’s. My husband goes to the HMV shop for a voucher for one relation. We have a family get-together with my relations in January and one with his that month too. It is lovely seeing them all. Thank you for making me aware that some people dread Christmas. My family and friends love it!