Organised by Croydon’s award-winning RISEgallery and supported by Croydon Business Improvement District (BID) and Croydon Council, the ambitious programme includes an exhibition of original artwork by the iconic US artist, Andy Warhol, who died 30 years ago.
Throughout September there will be daily guided tours of a public exhibition of 12 giant street artworks around Croydon – homages to Warhol by leading contemporary artists. Over the next month there will also be 114 free events, including Workshops, lectures and film screenings dedicated to Warhol.
Curated by RISEgallery founder, Kevin Zuchowsi-Morrison, with the support of Croydon BID and Croydon Council, the project aims to remove barriers to popular art and provide an outlet for people to experience, enjoy and understand more about Pop Art, Andy Warhol and the significance of his work.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Zuchowski-Morrison said: “Delivering free public art has not really been done this way before - it encourages new audiences and engages with people in Croydon. We have such a rich and beautiful melting pot of different cultures here in Croydon and that really is our treasure - something we should celebrate and encourage.”
“Andy Warhol wasn’t afraid to explore new things - he wanted always to be progressive and to move forward and explore new ideas. Croydon is very much like that. Croydon wants to embrace new ideas and take on new challenges and we should be very proud of that.”
Warhol Croydon continues to build Croydon’s growing reputation for street art and culture and cultural events by delivering an innovative, exciting and completely accessible and inclusive programme for all ages.
The project is also being supported by ARJ, Develop Croydon, Hamilton-Selway Fine Art, Inspired Homes, One Lansdowne Road, Regent Land, Ruskin Square, SMP, and White Label. Mobile Bar Hire supported the launch event and Connected Space have built a Warhol Croydon app, providing a mobile guide to the street art exhibition as well as What’s On throughout the month.
Warhol Croydon’s exhibition of rare and original works is a coup for the organisers. It took Mr Zuchowski-Morrison three years of planning to persuade world famous galleries and collectors as well leading artists to lend original Warhol artworks to a “small commercial gallery on the outskirts of London.”
He said: “This exhibition is very special and we are very lucky to have so many rare and unique works here and to have so many people who have supported the vision and helped us to achieve it.”
Among the artists whose work is exhibited at RISEgallery is Rich Simmons, a leading artist who exhibits in New York and has a studio in Croydon. His two tribute works, of a skeleton gripping Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup can – are a call for young living artists to receive support alongside the famous artists of the past.
He said: “I think what Kevin and RISEgallery are doing with Warhol Croydon is establishing the town as one of the new capitals for street art. Art has the power to transform not just visually, but financially and economically as well as having a positive impact on the community. You would never expect to put the words Warhol and Croydon together but with Warhol Croydon we are proving that we can bring artists like that here and we can support our own community of talented young artists.”
Over the month, world art experts will speak at a series of workshops about Warhol the artist, his life and his works including: Henry Koelsch, Jean Wainwright, Gary Needham, Joanna Straczowski, as well as Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison.
There will also be some extraordinary footage of Warhol and some of his own iconic films will also be screened at the David Lean Cinema, in Croydon’s Clocktower complex, including: Andy Warhol: A Documentary – Parts 1 and 2, Chelsea Girls, Lonesome Cowboys and Vinyl.
The RISEgallery, which is located in St George’s Walk in the heart of Croydon’s ‘Cultural Quarter’, will open from 10am to 6pm seven days a week throughout the month. A special late-night opening of the gallery will take place on Friday, 8th September.