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Saatchi Gallery ( 8 Photo )

Saatchi Gallery 2016
Written by Adadha.com

The Saatchi Gallery is a London gallery for contemporary art, opened by Charles Saatchi in 1985 in order to exhibit his collection to the public. It has occupied different premises, first in North London, then the South Bank by the River Thames, and finally in Chelsea, its current location. Saatchi’s collection—and hence the gallery’s shows—has had distinct phases, starting with US artists and minimalism, moving to the Damien Hirst-led Young British Artists, followed by shows purely of painting, and then returning to contemporary art from America in USA Today at the Royal Academy in London. A 2008 exhibition of contemporary Chinese art formed the inaugural exhibition in the new venue for the gallery at the Duke of York’s HQ.


The gallery has been an influence on art in Britain since its opening. It has also had a history of media controversy, which it has actively courted, and has earned extremes of critical reaction. Many artists shown at the gallery are unknown not only to the general public but also to the commercial art world; showing at the gallery has provided a springboard to launch careers.

In 2010, it was announced that the gallery would be given to the British public, becoming the Museum



of Contemporary Art for London

Opening and US art

The Saatchi Gallery opened in 1985 in Boundary Road, St John’s Wood, London in a disused paint factory of 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2). The first exhibition was held March—October 1985 featured many works by American minimalist Donald Judd, American abstract painters Brice Marden and Cy Twombly, and American pop artist Andy Warhol. This was the first U.K. exhibition for Twombly and Marden.

These were followed throughout December 1985 – July 1986 by an exhibition of works by American sculptor John Chamberlain, American minimalists Dan Flavin, Sol LeWitt, Robert Ryman, Frank Stella, and Carl Andre. During September 1986 – July 1987, the gallery exhibited German artist Anselm Kiefer and American minimalist sculptor Richard Serra. The exhibited Serra sculptures were so large that the caretaker’s flat adjoining the gallery was demolished to make room for them.

From September 1987 – January 1988, the Saatchi Gallery mounted two exhibitions entitled New York Art Now, featuring Jeff Koons, Robert Gober, Peter Halley, Haim Steinbach, Philip Taaffe, and Caroll Dunham. This exhibition introduced these artists to the U.K. for the first time. The blend of minimalism and pop art influenced many young artists who would later form the Young British Artists (YBA) group.

April – October 1988 featured exhibited works by American figurative painter Leon Golub, German painter and photographer Sigmar Polke, and American Abstract Expressionist painter Philip Guston. During November 1988 – April 1989 a group show featured contemporary American artists, most prominently Eric Fischl. From April – October, the gallery hosted exhibitions of American minimalist Robert Mangold and American conceptual artist Bruce Nauman. From November 1989 – February 1990, a series of exhibitions featured School of London artists including Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff and Howard Hodgkin.

During January – July 1991, the gallery exhibited the work of American pop artist Richard Artschwager, American photographer Cindy Sherman, and British installation artist Richard Wilson. Wilson’s piece 20:50, a room entirely filled with oil, became a permanent installation at the Saatchi Gallery’s Boundary Road venue. September 1991 – February 1992 featured a group show, including American photographer Andres Serrano.

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Young British Artists

In an abrupt move, Saatchi sold much of his collection of US art, and invested in a new generation of British artists, exhibiting them in shows with the title Young British Artists. The core of the artists had been brought together by Damien Hirst in 1988 in a seminal show called Freeze. Saatchi augmented this with his own choice of purchases from art colleges and “alternative” artist-run spaces in London. His first showing of the YBAs was in 1992, where the star exhibit was a Hirst vitrine containing a shark in formaldehyde and entitled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. This was funded by Saatchi. It has become the iconic work of 1990s British art, and the symbol of Britart worldwide.

More recently Saatchi said, “It’s not that Freeze, the 1988 exhibition that Damien Hirst organised with this fellow Goldsmiths College students, was particularly good. Much of the art was fairly so-so and Hirst himself hadn’t made anything much just a cluster of small colourful cardboard boxes placed high on a wall. What really stood out was the hopeful swagger of it all.”

Saatchi’s promotion of these artists dominated local art throughout the nineties and brought them to worldwide notice. Among the artists in the series of shows were Jenny Saville, Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Rachel Whiteread. (Tracey Emin was initially hostile to Saatchi and only relented for the 1997 Sensation show.)


Sensation opened in September at the Royal Academy to much controversy and showed 110 works by 42 artists from the Saatchi collection. In 1999 Sensation toured to The National Galerie at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin in the autumn, and then to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, creating unprecedented political and media controversy and becoming a touchstone for debate about the “morality” of contemporary art.

Neurotic Realism and philanthropy

Meanwhile, other shows with different themes were held in the gallery itself. In 1998, Saatchi launched a two part exhibition entitled Neurotic Realism. Though widely attacked by critics, the exhibition included many future international stars including; Cecily Brown, Ron Mueck, Noble and Webster, Dexter Dalwood, Martin Maloney, Dan Coombs, Chantal Joffe, Michael Raedecker and David Thorpe. In 2000 Ant Noises (an anagram of “sensation”), also in two parts, tried surer ground with work by Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Jenny Saville, Rachel Whiteread, the Chapmans, Gavin Turk, Tracy Emin and Chris Ofili.

During this period the Collection was based at ’30 Underwood St’ an artist Collective of 50 studios and four galleries, the gallery made several large philanthropic donations including 100 artworks in 1999 to the Arts Council of Great Britain Collection, which operates a “lending library” to museums and galleries around the country, with the aim of increasing awareness and promoting interest in younger artists; 40 works by young British artists through the National Arts Collection Fund, now known as The Art Fund, to eight museum collections across Britain in 2000; and 50 artworks to the Paintings in Hospitals program which provides a lending library of over 3,000 original works of art to NHS hospitals, hospices and health centers throughout England, Wales and Ireland in 2002.


Artists shown at the Saatchi Gallery

Boundary Road


  • Donald Judd
  • Brice Marden
  • Cy Twombly
  • Andy Warhol


  • Carl Andre
  • Sol LeWitt
  • Robert Ryman
  • Frank Stella
  • Dan Flavin


  • Anselm Kiefer
  • Richard Serra
  • Jeff Koons
  • Robert Gober
  • Philip Taaffe
  • Carroll Dunham


  • Leon Golub
  • Philip Guston
  • Sigmar Polke


  • Robert Mangold
  • Bruce Nauman


  • Leon Kossoff
  • Frank Auerbach
  • Lucian Freud


  • Richard Artschwager
  • Andreas Serrano
  • Cindy Sherman


  • Damien Hirst
  • Rachel Whiteread


  • Sarah Lucas
  • Marc Quinn


  • Jenny Saville
  • Paula Rego


  • Gavin Turk
  • Glenn Brown
  • Gary Hume


  • Janine Antoni
  • Tony Oursler
  • Richard Prince
  • Charles Ray
  • Kiki Smith
  • Stephan Balkenhol
  • Dan Coombs


  • Duane Hanson
  • Andreas Gursky
  • Martin Honert
  • Thomas Ruff
  • Thomas Schütte


  • David Salle
  • Jessica Stockholder
  • Terry Winters
  • John Currin
  • Tom Friedman
  • Josiah McElheny
  • Laura Owens
  • Elizabeth Peyton
  • Lisa Yuskavage


  • Alex Katz
  • Martin Maloney
  • Dexter Dalwood
  • Ron Mueck
  • Cecily Brown
  • Noble and Webster
  • Michael Raedecker


  • Boris Mikhailov


  • Igor Kalinauskas


  • Karen Heagle
Peyton Adams

County Hall
  • Damien Hirst
  • The Chapman Brothers
  • New Blood
  • Galleon & Other Stories
  • The Triumph of Painting
Duke of York’s HQ
  • The Revolution Continues: New Art From China


  • Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East
  • The Triumph of Painting
  • Out Of Focus: Photography Now
  • The Power Of Paper



  • The Revolution Continues: New Art From China
  • Sarah Kent, “Shark Infested Waters: The Saatchi Collection of British Art in the 90s”, Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd, 2003, ISBN 0-85667-584-9.
  • Rita Hatton and John A. Walker, “Supercollector, a Critique of Charles Saatchi”, The Institute of Artology, 3rd edition 2005, paperback, ISBN 0-9545702-2-7
  • USA Today
  • The Triumph Of Painting
  • The Triumph Of Painting, Supplementary Volume
  • The Triumph Of Painting, Supplementary Volume
  • 100 The Work That Changed British Art
  • Hell, Jake & Dinos Chapman
  • Paula Rego
  • Young Americans
  • Stephan Balkenhol
  • Fiona Rae & Gary Hume
  • Duane Hanson
  • Shark Infested Waters, The Saatchi Collection Of British Art In The 90’s
  • Young German Artists 2
  • Sensation
  • Alex Katz: 25 Years Of Painting
  • Young Americans 2
  • Neurotic Realism
  • Eurovision
  • Ant Noises 1
  • Ant Noises 2
  • The Arts Council Gift
  • I Am A Camera
  • New Labour
  • Young British Art
  • Saatchi Decade
  • Boris Mikhailov: Case History
  • Damien Hirst

Saatchi Gallery 2016

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