Newspeak: British Art Now, The Saatchi Gallery, London

A greyer and wiser Charles Saatchi – 67 this week – puts on a show that has little truck with novelty and is all the better for it

You will, I am sure, recall Charles Saatchi, the man who gave us "Labour isn't working" in 1979 and, six years later, the first of a trio of self-styled Galleries. It was Saatchi whose collection of Young British Art brought the YBAs to broad public attention when it was shown at the Royal Academy in Sensation! in 1997, he whose favour or princely neglect can make or break the career of a Goldsmiths' graduate. In recent years, Saatchi's restless eye has roved abroad, to China and India, to the Middle East. But when the latest Saatchi Gallery – the biggest and most handsome yet – holds a show subtitled British Art Now, the world and its dealers still sit up and listen.

As you'd guess, Newspeak comes larded with expectations. Charles Saatchi is famous for spotting talent before anyone else, often when it is still in its second year at art school. When he started collecting Emin and Hirst, they were relative nobodies. If Saatchi says a thing is new and best, then it is new and best. Or that has been his reputation, echoed in the title of this latest show.

But does it still hold good? Although it seems impossible, Saatchi turns 67 this week and is entering his second quarter-century as a gallerist and his fourth decade as a collector. It is fair to say that art was a novelty to him when he bought his first picture 33 years ago, and that the kind of work that has appealed to him has itself often been novel. If you're going to stretch a point, it's arguable that the obsession with newness of recent British art stemmed, at least in part, from the newness to British art of its most ardent advocate.

So what of the tastes of the greyer and wiser Charles Saatchi? As you'd expect, Newspeak turns out to be not quite as descriptive a title as Sensation! was in 1997. A lot of the work in this latest show seems distinctly oldspeak, either because we have seen it or its makers before – Goshka Macuga in the 2008 Turner Prize show, Pablo Bronstein in the 2006 Tate Triennial – or because it has little clear truck with novelty. Only two of the 29 artists in the show are under 30, and one – gasp! – is 53. None is a student. Of the artists in Sensation! – Jake and Dinos, Chris Ofili, Hirst, Harvey, Whiteread and Emin – not one is in Newspeak. The word "now" has clearly changed its meaning for Saatchi, ageing as he himself has aged. "Now" in 2010 means "new to the Saatchi Collection", although it certainly does not mean "new to art".

And, to my bufferish tastes, Newspeak is all the better for it. Yes, the show is inchoate and inconsistent and a mess, but then it is, in effect, the contents of someone's attic. Some of the work may make you want to tut, but none that I can think of makes you want to call the cops: there are no Myra Hindleys, no impaled Popes, no poo-virgins. And a surprising amount of it – say, 20 per cent – is really very good, and it is on these works that I shall kindly dwell.

In no particular order, and starting in two dimensions: Hurvin Anderson's Untitled (Black Street) feels like real painting, going back to various of the shibboleths of modernism – a monochrome palette, flatness to the picture plane – and finding in them something new, hybrid and disturbing. William Daniel's William Blake II has the recycled, Thomas Demand-ish air of an object remade in paper, photographed and painted. I'm sure it's asking Goldsmithy questions about appropriation, blah blah blah, but it's also heartfelt and uncanny. Barry Reigate's Real Special Very Painting is, both despite and because of its rigid messiness, exactly what it says it is.

Into three dimensions, Matthew Darbyshire's Untitled: Furniture Island No 2 has something of the feel of the early Tony Cragg, that happy, pre-rich moment when Cragg had to scour the banks of German rivers for washed-up bleach bottles. Darbyshire's assemblage of Ikea bits and bobs is funny and pretty and unplaceable, like Arte Povera rethought by Andy Warhol. Of Rupert Norfolk's Guillotine I can not say enough, the rendering duplicitous of a machine whose job it is to cut things in two being little short of genius. And John Wynne's Installation for 300 speakers etc has a frail monumentalism that you really have to see and hear. If this is the older Saatchi's idea of newness, then I'm all for it. Happy birthday for Wednesday, Charles.

To 17 Oct (020-7811 3070)

Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower