Sunday, July 11th, 2010
Tracy Emin’s My Bed (1998), one of the 200 works of art Charles Saatchi plans on gifting to the British government.
Outspoken advertising and art collecting tycoon Charles Saatchi has announced plans to gift his London gallery and some 200 works of art to the British government upon his retirement. While terms of the donation have not yet been ironed out and Saatchi has not specified a retirement date, the deal would put an estimated $37.5 million worth of art, along with Saatchi’s 70,000 sq ft exhibit space (to be renamed The Museum of Contemporary Art, London) in the nation’s hands. Statements from the gallery clarified that no charges would fall on the nation’s taxpayers, nor would Mr. Saatchi himself receive any tax benefits from the gift.
While the works to be donated may serve as hefty building blocks for a new museum, ultimately its success as a major public art institution will rest on what government agencies are given the task, who is brought in to curate and direct, how new works will be acquired by the collection, and in doing so, what will be purged.