Known for his caustic collages featuring headline-hitting pop culture celebrities and right-wing politicians, the UK artist Cold War Steve is giving everyone the chance to host an exhibition of his works by providing his images free to download online.
More than 3,000 people have so far taken up the offer. Cold War Steve, otherwise known as Christopher Spencer (a public-sector worker based in Birmingham), will visit and document as many shows as possible “in a kind of post-Brexit road movie”, he says. The project is entitled You, Me & Cold War Steve: the International Exhibition of the People. All shows produced will run from 1 April to 1 May.
The artist has provided a link for 23 early and new works including The Piers Quadriptych, a series showing the TV presenter Piers Morgan, naked and bloated, gazing at posters of Meghan Markle.
“The entire exhibition will be hosted on a public link for anyone to download and put up anywhere they choose. The exhibition could run in your local library, a pub, front room, back garden, doctors’ surgery, music venue... or even a gallery,” says a statement on the artist’s website.
The exhibition pack includes basic guidelines for print but no set rules, and organisers can request a poster template to promote the DIY shows. “Curate your own exhibition in any order and any size, print locally and spread the word!” the statement adds.
The Mannakin HQ in Lincolnshire was the first venue to announce its show. “An ex-Conservative club in Liverpool have both announced but we also have others lined up in Penzance, Dundee, Stoke, York, Norwich, Bristol, Exeter and loads more plus [more] overseas in Los Angeles, Australia, and Bermuda,” says a spokesman for Cold War Steve. Proposed spaces range from community centres and small galleries, to libraries and pubs, front rooms, shops and cafés.
“We’re not in charge of the exhibitions, we’re not choosing people; they’re just getting on with it and letting us know,” the spokesman says. What if people try to sell the works? “It wouldn’t be in the spirit of things for people to try and sell. Not the point. I think people will be wise to that,” he adds.