Setbacks Halt Progress on Charles Saatchi’s Plans to Convert His Gallery into a Public Museum


Nothing is ever as quick and easy as it sounds, and no good deed ever goes…well, without carefully scrutiny. In early July, we told you that Charles Saatchi, the advertising veteran turned world famous art collector, had decided to donate his gallery, along with £25 million worth of art, to the British government and have them turn it into a museum upon his retirement. While there were guidelines put in place with the offer, like changing the Saatchi Gallery‘s name to the Museum of Contemporary Art, London, and letting the collector himself continue to control the collection as he best sees fit, which didn’t come without catching some flack from the press, it seemed as though some papers might be signed and it would be a done deal. Of course that was absurd thinking, as this sort of hand-off would never be so easy. The BBC is reporting that some setbacks have stopped the process in its tracks for the time being. Of the most pressing issues are a) that the government doesn’t like the idea of taking over the financing of a museum that has the ability to buy and sell from its permanent collection as will, and b) that a new museum of modern art in London would directly compete with the other modern art museum in London, the Tate. There were apt to be hurdles such as these and here we now are. “A spokeswoman for Mr Saatchi said: ‘There is nothing more to say for the time being but hopefully [there will be] in the next few weeks,'” so we suppose all we can do is wait to learn what’s what.