Why it’s RIGHT to reject Charles Saatchi’s gift to the nation
This blog is in response to the article in the Guardian today by Jonathan Jones. You can find it at this LINK.
Jones claims that “Britain’s public galleries are spurning the generosity of Charles Saatchi”
Well I would like to tell you why it’s right!
It was Charles Saatchi who created the hype by backing the likes of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, which is the justification for the £30 million(!) estimated value on the collection. The real value of such items is difficult to say, but my estimate would be closer to zero… and I’ll tell you why…
There is no longevity to the appeal of this “shock factor art”.
It seems we are caught in a movement of art which places more importance on originality of thought than aesthetic appeal. It has got to the point where shock factor replaces the aesthetic altogether.
The problem with this is that originality and shock factor fade as we become used to the exposure to it. Once that is stripped back, what is there left? This type of art has its place in a gallery at the time it is conceived, but it’s hard to imagine it’s appeal beyond that.
Impressionist paintings over 100 years ago were shocking and original. But the key to their longevity lay in their beauty, their aesthetic appeal and their craft. By all means put a dirty unmade bed in a gallery to push the boundaries of creativity and conceptualism, allowing us all to debate the deeper meanings…. but don’t expect to sell it 14 years on for millions or expect it to be relevant for our contemporary galleries.
This modern obsession with originality (often just for the sake of being different or shocking) within the conceptual art world and our contemporary galleries is inadvertently compromising medium to long term appeal.
It is no surprise that the ‘Young British Artists’ are not named amongst the most influential artists as this survey from the independentsuggests.
“The YBAs are constantly showered with accolades by curators, collectors and critics, supported by an art market PR machine that ensures they are rarely out of the limelight. Yet, as this poll suggests, they fail to inspire other artists – one of the tests of great talent “
Art should reach out to all of us. Those who may not look beyond the aesthetics should still be able to appreciate works with an intellectual content. To dismiss this promotes snobbery and elitism.
It’s no wonder Saatchi can’t give this stuff away!