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Cold War Steve social media gets its own exhibition

'Modern day Gillray' gets first retrospective at Social gallery in Fitzrovia

05 October, 2018 — By Tom Foot

A Cold War Steve collage 

IT is, for many, the funniest account on social media right now and evidence that the great British art of satire is not dead.

Cold War Steve is a series dystopian collages of actor Steve McFadden – best known as hardman Phil Mitchell from EastEnders – in a tangle of high profile politicians and low level celebrities.

Satirical works by the artist behind the popular Twitter account – Christopher Spencer, a 43-year-old public-sector worker from Birming- ham – are set to be displayed for the first time in a top West End gallery.

“I know they don’t look brilliant, I don’t want them to,” he said in an interview with the Guardian. “People say, ‘Oh, you haven’t got the shadows right’. That’s not what I’m doing. The comments I love are people saying, ‘I nearly left Twitter because it’s vile. I carry on because of Cold War Steve’.”

The Social gallery in Little Portland Street, Fitzrovia, is displaying A Brief History of the World (1953-2018) which will “present an alternate history – a timeline haunted by the Zelig-like figure of iconic TV hardman Phil Mitchell”.

The organisers said: “As Phil traverses these hellscapes, a recurring cast of characters builds around him – the collective presence of household names such as Donald Trump, Alan Brazil, Danny Dyer and Fray Bentos reflect the ebb and flow of our daily news cycle.

“Truly, this promises to be show to rival Frieze or any of the autumn’s major gallery openings.”

A Brief History of the World (1953-2018) is the first time Cold War Steve’s work has been presented “as pictures on walls”, according to the gallery.

Praise for Spencer’s images have come from many corners, including Jon Savage who has described him as a “modern Hogarth or Gillray” and Kathy Burke who says: “One of the funniest accounts on Twitter.”

The Social will also be providing very special guests choosing appropriate dystopian drinking music.

l The exhibition of work by Cold War Steve opens on October 15 at the Social, Little Portland Street, W1. www.thesocial.com

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