Saatchi Collection To Become Contemporary Art Museum

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 100 months ago
Saatchi Collection To Become Contemporary Art Museum

The ever-munificent Charles Saatchi has decided to palm off his art gallery onto the state. The Saatchi gallery in King's Road, Chelsea will be renamed the Museum of Contemporary Art, London, and the collector is also throwing in 200 pieces as a job lot.

The £25m gift includes highlights from his collection, such as Tracey Emin's My Bed, the disturbing mannequins of the Chapman brothers, and Richard Wilson's 20:50, a gallery-sized installation filled with recycled engine oil. Saatchi's apparent aim is to leave a substantial legacy (though the name change won't come into effect until he's retired in 2012) and to create a "living museum", in the words of the gallery's director Rebecca Wilson.

Saatchi's apparent generosity in eschewing his name on the marquee is tinged with hubris: can he really pronounce on what contemporary art is, particularly as his more perspicacious days (Sensation, say) seem many years ago, judging by the indifferent reaction to gallery shows since it opened in 2007. Will MOCAL be able to grow in a different direction to the one proscribed by the man who founded it, or will the museum forever be under the yoke of Saatchi's personal whim? A generous decision it is, but London will have to wait and see whether it is capable of living up to its ambitious new name.

Image shows Madame Blavatsky 2007 by Goshka Macuga, part of British Art Now at the Saatchi Gallery

Last Updated 02 July 2010