An interesting and amusing talk by Bill Drummond at the Tate last Thursday evening as part of the Late at Tate series.
The talk was titled ‘Liverpool or why Andy Warhol is Shite’ which is also the working title for a book that will explore Drummond’s long and complicated relationship with the city. The second part of the title refers to the subject matter of an uncompleted history of art essay that Drummond started while studying fine art at Liverpool School of Art in 1973 in reaction to visiting the first Andy Warhol retrospective in the UK at what is now Tate Britain.
So Drummond related how he first came to Liverpool in October 1972 to study art and soon got fed up with life drawing using only charcoal then black and white paint. He could hear Andy Warhol talking in his head all the time, telling him he should paint things that liked. So he took a jar of Marmite into class one day to paint that. the art lecturer Peter Prendegast was not pleased, Bill walked out and spent a lot of time walking round the Albert Dock which was a derelict area in those days.
I’d better not relate the whole story, you’ll be able to buy the book eventually, but over the years Drummond returned to Liverpool several times to take part in Biennials or other events and somehow managed to fail to complete each project or would be involved with police or some other cock-up.
Even this event was delayed by an hour as the Tate hadn’t realised Bill was bringing a load of canvases and boxes to illuminate his talk. They had closed down the goods lift for the evening not realising that he was inside!
One project which didn’t quite happen was for the 2004 Biennial when he twinned Kensington in Liverpool with Kensington in London. The original idea was to exchange wheelie bins but when he discovered London’s Kensington didn’t use wheelie bins he changed to kettles and planned to exchange 1,000 kettles from the two areas. He gave a mug like the one pictured to everyone who donated a kettle. But he never got enough kettles so that was abandoned.
So at the end of the talk he invited the audience to help themselves to these mugs as he just wanted to get rid of them. You can see mine pictured here.
During the evening he held up and read out several of his ‘Notice’ posters which you can see on his websites: