Warhol Month event review: Andy Warhol Changed The World at the Spread Eagle pub theatre

By - Wednesday 27th September, 2017

The chance to learn about modern art, for free, from experts. That’s Croydon’s Warhol Month

Photo author’s own.

To celebrate Croydon’s Warhol Month, there’s a packed programme of events with many talks, walks and Warhol-inspired works of art splattered around Croydon. The month of activities marks thirty years since the death of the famous American artist. After finishing my pleasant meal at the Spread Eagle pub, I marched upstairs then through the labyrinth of hallways with posters for shows new and old, to what I’d heard was its small-scale theatre. The theatre was full and my mother and I found seats near the front.

Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison is the founder of RISE Gallery in St George’s Walk and a celebrated expert on Warhol. I was aware that we were very fortunate to be able to hear a talk like this for nothing. I very much liked the start, when he placed his beer on a mat next to his laptop and simply began. “Warhol is an enigma,” he said.

Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison was losing his voice – with forty-one guided Warhol walks still to go!

Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison’s own successful career began as a dealer in Warhol, and this led him onto becoming deeply fascinated by the artist. I had done research earlier so that I could understand the basics of what he was talking about. Warhol was most definitely controversial at the time but perhaps that’s what the world needed, a sprinkle of crazy on top of the cake of passion. Some of his new techniques, such as working with prints, caused a scandal and were even described by critics as ‘the death of art’. I was particularly interested in his attitude to being commercial – he embraced it, and often contacted the celebrity subjects of paintings to make them aware of his work. This blending of different worlds was just one way in which he was radical and ground-breaking.

Warhol was also a film-maker, making some films that were very long indeed and using experimental techniques. He even brought material, such as screen tests, into the public domain for the very first time. Showings of some of Warhol’s films at the David Lean cinema (next door to the Spread Eagle) have also been part of Warhol Month.

My mother and I were both struck by the fact that our lecturer had no notes; his entire talk lasting over an hour was delivered without any kind of prompt. The ability to speak like this is the sign of a real expert. He was also losing his voice, he said, from hosting the guided walks of Warhol-inspired artwork in Croydon town centre, with eighteen walks down and forty-one still to go!

Warhol never said we’d all be famous for fifteen minutes

The end of the talk was met with a deafening amount of clapping, well deserved I might add, then followed by questions. It was during the questions that Kevin debunked the (very) widespread belief that Warhol said “everyone in the future will be famous for fifteen minutes”. This was actually ascribed to him by a journalist. I’m pretty sure that everyone in the room thought it was him; I’d say a lot of jaws fell to the floor.

Learning how Andy Warhol changed the world was really eye-opening and interesting. I’m currently doing my Art GCSE and learning more about artists and what I learned was really useful and fascinating. I also recognised some of the artists that Andy collaborated with, including Keith Haring. It was a great talk to listen to and Warhol Month is something I’m really interested and invested in. Kevin did a great job in converting me to the admiration of Andy Warhol.

And the month’s not over: you can still do guided walks of Warhol-inspired art works which run every day and are all free. To see a full Warhol Month programme, click here

Rufus Jones

Rufus Jones

Rufus is in year 10 at Archbishop Tenison's School, Croydon. He has a passion for art and design and a keen interest in history and writing, taking after his father. In his spare time he enjoys gaming.

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