Leading article: National treasure

Just like contemporary art itself, Charles Saatchi's decision to donate Tracey Emin's unmade bed (along with around 200 other artworks and his Chelsea gallery) to the nation is likely to divide opinion.

Some will see it as an act of laudable philanthropy – just the sort of behaviour that should be encouraged from the wealthy in these cash-strapped times. Others will see it as Mr Saatchi's latest attempt to promote a narrow and controversial aesthetic (and to cock a snook at his old rival at the Tate, Nicholas Serota, into the bargain). You pay your money and take your choice (although not to visit the gallery in question, which will remain free to the public).

Perhaps conscious of the charge of self-aggrandisement, Mr Saatchi has said that he wants the gallery to be renamed The London Museum of Contemporary Art. No doubt the Government will honour that request. But whether he desires it or not, we suspect that, to both the collector's supporters and his detractors, it is destined to remain known as the Saatchi Gallery.

Comments