Saatchi rues lost art of conversation as gallery donation talks collapse
Tuesday 07 September 2010
Charles Saatchi's pledge to donate his gallery and modern art collection to the public is in jeopardy after talks with the Arts Council broke down.
Mr Saatchi announced the proposal in July, which would include 200 works of contemporary art valued at around £25m. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt called the gift, including Tracey Emin's My Bed, an "act of incredible generosity".
It is not clear why the talks failed, but it is understood that the idea of part-financing the institution after it had been handed over by buying and selling items from the donated collection runs against the code of ethics set out by the Museums' Association.
When the proposal was announced the gallery said in a statement that Saatchi felt it was "vital for the museum always to be able to display a living and evolving collection of work, rather than an archive of art history".
The intention to buy and sell items for the collection would ensure that, when Saatchi retired, the gallery would have "a strong, rotating permanent collection of major installations".
The plan also raised concerns that the creation of a new, contemporary art museum would duplicate the role of the Tate Modern.
The Saatchi Gallery's talks have now resumed with a separate, non-publicly funded arts organisation.
A spokeswoman for Mr Saatchi said: "There is nothing more to say for the time being but hopefully [there will be] in the next few weeks".
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said it would not give a "running commentary" on discussions. "Ministers made clear in July that they very much welcome the announcement by Charles Saatchi of his intention to donate his collection to the nation," read the DCMS statement.
"Any donation of this type involves a range of logistical issues and the details of how it will best be taken forward have not been finalised." Under the plans, the 70,000 sq ft Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, owned by Cadogan Estate, would become the Museum of Contemporary Art for London (Moca London). The 200 work permanent collection would also include Tragic Anatomies, by Jake and Dinos Chapman, which features mutated mannequins in a garden, and an installation by Emily Prince made up of thousands of drawings of US military personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, more commonly known as the "Shark in Formaldehyde" is another work in Mr Saatchi's collection
When the plan was announced in July, the gallery's managers said they would raise money to allow for free entrance from sponsorhip and by hosting events.
It was promised that "no charges will fall to the state" in the process of handing over the collection.
Mr Saatchi, 67, would also continue to own many hundreds of works himself, it continued, "which will be passed to his family on his death".
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
Guardians Of The Galaxy, review: Marvel-lite movie feels half-hearted
Fifty Shades of Grey film stills
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia