Charles Saatchi to Hand Over Saatchi Gallery to British Government, Rename It ‘Museum of Contemporary Art, London’

With last year’s book release and (poorly received) BBC series, advertising and art collecting big shot Charles Saatchi has opened himself up to the public more recently than ever. And now he’s made an even largely gesture with the announcement that, upon his retirement, he will hand over his two year old Saatchi Gallery to the British government, at which time it will be renamed the Museum of Contemporary Art, London. He’s also throwing in £25 million worth of art to make sure the museum has enough to work with upon its (re-)opening. There are few details about the specifics of how the transition will take place, and when, other than word that Saatchi is expected to keep an central role in the new organization and that the building the gallery is currently housed in won’t be a part of the package (the owners of Cadogan Estatehopes that the gallery will remain there“), but meetings about all the arrangements are expected to start happening soon. Also, the new MoCA London, as a public museum, will have free admission. Not everyone is jumping for joy, of course, with critics like the Guardian‘s Adrian Searle saying there are far too many questions raised with the news, adding that “We don’t even know what art Saatchi currently owns, or what he is giving to the nation” and “For all his money and enthusiasm, Saatchi has never bought consistently or well.” Will be interesting to see how it all plays out.