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your chance to interview charles saatchi

Post #385 • October 12, 2004, 7:29 AM • 9 Comments

From The Art Newspaper:

To coincide with the 20th anniversary of his gallery, the advertising magnate turned art collector, Charles Saatchi has agreed to answer The Art Newspapers questions as well as your own in our January 2005 issue. Email your queries for Mr Saatchi to: or post them to: Charles Saatchi c/o The Art Newspaper, 70 South Lambeth Road, London, SW8 1RL. Please include your name, address, and a contact email or telephone number. All questions must be received by 6 December.

Mr. Saatchi may not be who you think he is anymore. He's into painting now. Really. Nigel Reynolds for the UK Telegraph:

The advertising millionaire widely credited with, and sometimes despised for, putting conceptual art on the map is banishing Emin's unmade bed, Hirst's dead cows and sharks and other well-known icons of the Young British Artists movement from his central London gallery for the next two years.

Instead, he is to show exhibitions of paintings - albeit contemporary ones - a species recently thought close to extinction.

A Zen proverb says that if you haven't seen someone for ten minutes, you shouldn't assume you're looking at the same person. Ask away.



that guy in the back row

October 12, 2004, 4:08 PM

I'll ask him if it was the insurance fire which made him realize what he was missing.



October 12, 2004, 4:32 PM

Itr may be a good omen (from my standpoint, anyway) that this guy is now buying painting, but let's withhold judgement until we see what kind of painting he is buying. His is not a world of lasting value, for sure.

I certainly have no interest in asking him any questions.



October 12, 2004, 8:08 PM

Thanks, but I'll pass. I'm not interested in what he has to say, as I can't imagine it'd be significantly different from what he's already said, directly or indirectly. Besides, what somebody like Saatchi desperately wants is attention, even negative attention, and I don't care to gratify him.



October 13, 2004, 1:53 AM

It was actually pretty obvious when I visited in July that Saatchi was moving his collection more heavily into contemporary painting. I can't rattle off all the names for you, but there were a few notables like Tuymans and Doig (tho the Tuymans I saw at Saatchi wasn't as attractive to me as the ones exhibited at Tate Modern that month). His rooms with paintings contrasted quite sharply with all the other rooms containing scultpures and other mixed-media works. Like I said, it was pretty obvious he had changed his acquisition strategy in the recent past. I thought a good proportion of the paintings were interesting and memorable, actually. I was disappointed that the gift shop didn't have postcards or catalogs with those works (...yet?), as opposed to all the other famous and over-publicized works.



October 13, 2004, 5:43 PM

Saatchi reminds me of Madonna. Both share an inordinate desire for notoriety based on "transgressiveness," which is really calculated behavior designed for effect. To maintain such notice, they cannot stick to the same thing too long, but must "reinvent" themselves periodically, as Madonna does like clockwork. There is no real change, of course; it's the same dog with a different collar, but the trick works well enough--at least with skilled practitioners and/or easily manipulated target audiences.

So Saatchi's into painting now ("transgressive" painting, surely). How nice. I suppose it's bound to be better than stuff like Emin's bed (in any state whatsoever), large pickled animals, and that ludicrous head made of frozen blood (the one that accidentally melted). Somebody tell Rocket Projects that taxidermy is over.



October 13, 2004, 6:09 PM

See some of the works here. (only thumbnails)



October 13, 2004, 7:34 PM

Thanks for the reference, Hovig. It would be interesting to see what the great trendsetter is collecting. Can't he do better on his website? Those thumbs tell very little. The pictures don't look that great but they are too small to make out.

The interesting thing will be to see if this change of heart (I use the word advisedly) will flow out into the art business and make waves.



October 14, 2004, 11:50 PM

Actually, Saatchi's selection of painters isn't bad, although nearly all are completely unsurprising and only a couple were new names to me. (Extra billing for painters who have so much already) It seems like he is all for the current trend of figurative painting, paintings that "tell stories," or work that looks like an illustration for a children's book. (I really love figurative and portrait painting myself, so I am not complaining.)

I agree with you oldpro, the website is terrible considering how he is the gallery king of England and larger pictures are a must. Jack, the Saatchi/Madonna comparison is funny and valid, although it doesn't seem productive to be so jaded. Actually, much of the painters I saw on his site can't be described as transgressive, or at least not a fourth as transgressive as Sensation years ago.

BTW- Did anyone catch the Street article on Nina fired from Rocket and her letter to the editor in today's issue?


that guy in the back row

October 15, 2004, 1:19 AM

Ross, I just read Nina's letter. I'd hate to be the one to break it to her, but her credibility in this town is tainted to say the least. Her letter was a total dodge of all things relevant. Once the attempt is made to save face by writing a letter to the editor, somebody's sweating bullets.



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