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Sky Arts follows controversial satirical artist Cold War Steve as he takes his art to the masses


This Autumn, art has been making a bold escape from the confines of white box galleries as acclaimed artist Cold War Steve is embarking on a UK wide, outdoor art installation. The project, now underway, is one of the first large-scale art installations since lockdown and the journey is being followed for a unique original documentary film coming to Sky Arts in November 2020, entitled Cold War Steve Meets the Outside World.

Birmingham-based artist, Cold War Steve’s satirical collages have made him a cult phenomenon, particularly on social media, but he is also highly regarded in the art world, being celebrated as the ‘Brexit Bruegel’ and ‘a modern day Hogarth’. This subversive new voice in the art world has been taking a provocative look at the state of art, politics, and the true psyche of post-lockdown Britain through his work, literally bringing it to the masses with a number of large-scale exhibitions in the real world.

These attention grabbing exhibits have been sparking conversations across the country; from a giant windbreak on Boscombe Beach that was partly covered by the local council due to its dystopian take on the world, to a colossal jigsaw in Liverpool entitled ‘Trumpscape’. Cold War Steve’s exhibition has already made a statement in Medway, Bournemouth and Liverpool and his story continues as his work is set to arrive in Coventry next weekend.

On the project, he says: Despite my apprehension, this is the logical next stage of my nascent career as an artist, a stage that I am very excited about. No matter how detailed or expansive I make my work, I have to accept that it will only ever be viewed on nothing bigger than a phone screen. I am thrilled therefore that the whole thing will be captured for posterity for Sky Arts – which like my exhibits, is now free to view.”

The story of the exhibition will be told in the form of a Sky Arts feature documentary (1x90 minutes); a road movie that follows Cold War Steve travelling across the country in a mobile home as he supervises the building and erection of the pieces in each of the different sites, taking art out of the galleries and bringing it to the people.

Head of Sky Arts, Phil Edgar-Jones, says: “It’s in interesting time to be a satirist in the UK - there’s a lot going on for a wicked artistic eye to take in, so we are fascinated to follow the unique talents of Cold War Steve as he takes his world of the weird from the twittersphere and into the real world. This unvarnished documentary promises to be a satire on satire itself as he faces a welcome in some places and banishment from others and we can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.”

Cold War Steve devised the project with acclaimed filmmaker Kieran Evans, whose work spans feature films, documentaries, music videos, and experimental films. In 2014, Evans was awarded the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for his feature film Kelly + Victor.

As we take this journey with Cold War Steve we will see a snapshot of the post lockdown UK and get an insight in to how he sees this strange new world. We’ll learn about where he draws his inspiration from, what makes him want to create his artwork and his insight into how his work has struck a nerve with so many people. We’ll also meet fans, including recognisable faces such as Stephen Fry, and members of the public to get their perspective on his art.

Sky Arts is available for everyone to watch on Freeview Channel 11 and Freesat channel 147.

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