Charles Saatchi, one of the most important art collectors of his generation, has attacked the “vulgar” people who buy and sell in the contemporary art world. The leading British collector wrote in a column for The Guardian that buyers and dealers ‘can’t tell good artists from bad’
He says: “It is the sport of the Eurotrashy, hedgefundy, Hamptonites; of trendy oligarchs and oiligarchs; and of art dealers with masturbatory levels of self-regard.” Saatchi described the Venice Biennale, scene of the world’s biggest contemporary art jamboree, as a place where these people circulate “in a giddy round of glamour-filled socialising, from one swanky party to another”.
“Do any of these people actually enjoy looking at art?” asks Saatchi. “Do they simply enjoy having easily recognised big-brand-name pictures, bought ostentatiously in auction rooms at eye-catching prices, to decorate their several homes, floating and otherwise, in an instant demonstration of drop-dead coolth and wealth? Their pleasure is to be found in having their lovely friends measuring the weight of their baubles, and being awestruck.”
His comments will unquestionably cause waves in a world in which Saatchi has taken a pivotal role.
- Charles Saatchi’s rant in The Guardian
- Comment from The Guardian’s Mark Brown
- Comment from The Telegraph’s David Barrett
- Also check out Vanity Fair’s satirical take on Art Basel: The Greatest Art Basel Party in the History of Mankind.
Here’s a short excerpt:
“On behalf of HSBC Bank, Fiji Water, the Government of Finland, and the Edible Arrangements Corporation of North America, you are cordially invited to the greatest Art Basel Miami Beach party in the history of mankind. Humanity has yet to behold such a truly magnificent party, with a gathering of luminaries, celebrities, socialites, sociables, sociopaths, bons vivants, and hangers-on, the likes of which haven’t convened since the sinking of the Titanic.” Read on…
Image above: Charles Saatchi – Photo: REX