Supercollector: Charles Saatchi the bad man

title="Supercollector" src="" alt="" width="300" height="300" /* xin2 */ srcset=" 300w, 150w, 800w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />Charles Thomson

reviews the unexpurgated life story of Charles Saatchi.

“Ad man you’re

a bad man”, proclaimed the artist collective Bank bluntly about Charles

Saatchi in 1997.
In 2004, Guardian art critic, Adrian Searle, praised Saatchi’s popularist

​ approach, eye and humour in his New Blood show, but drubbed the curatorial incoherence. Sir Peter Blake has refused to sell his work

to Saatchi because, “I formed the opinion very early on that he wasn’t collecting for the love of art”. Victoria Miro commended Saatchi’s “passion for looking at
art”, and Jonathan Jones of the Guardian lauded

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Saatchi’s “empathy for youth” and his “obsession with

the contemporary”,
while google_ad_height = 90; an anonymous writer in Art Review  (actually David Lee,

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its then

editor) wrote him off as “a commodity trader in art futures”.

Virtually /* xin-1 */ anything Saatchi has done has had vociferous detractors and supporters, though

probably more of the former than the latter, especially as the years have gone on. Their views are assiduously documented by Rita Hatton and John A. Walker in google_ad_slot = "6023194682"; the

Process Overview:

book, Supercollector: A Critique
of Charles Saatchi, which first appeared in 2000, a time src="//"> when Saatchi was firmly ensconced as the all-powerful YBA Machiavelli, a click of whose
fingers were deemed to signify fame and success or the artistic rubbish heap. New editions were published in 2003 and


each adding extra chapters /* 9-970x90 */ to update the

The fourth edition (Institute of Artology, £25) now out has more than doubled the dimensions of the original, with nearly 30% more pages and bigger type google_ad_height = 90; size. In the intervening decade so much has changed that Walker informs me: “I do not think


will do another edition about Saatchi because I am bored by him now and I think he has

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lost his novelty


value.” Saatchi seems to be in general agreement with this (not quoted in the book): “I certainly was more dynamic once, building my advertising business and my art collection with ferocious energy. Now that I


have fizzled out, I still enjoy putting on shows


of art that I like and


introducing new artists to our visitors, so

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I hope it makes it worthwhile to plod on.”

It is primarily the ferocious energy phase that Walker and Hatton take issue with, declaring on their book’s back cover that they

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are writing “a hostile critique from an anti-capitalist standpoint”, the text quoting Marx, not to mention Baudrillard, Bourdieu, Veblen and Raymonde Moulin to reinforce the case. //--> The anti-capitalist stance also embraces anti-consumerism, anti-advertising and anti-Conservatives (but fortunately not anti-Art). Walker, raised in the working class but university educated and now
advertising agency with 400 offices, 10,000

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clients and 11,000 employees, Saatchi, albeit from a middle class background, was educated in a state school (Christ’s College, Finchley) and left education age google_ad_slot = "7160667483"; 17 with meagre qualifications and //--> poor spelling abilities. The factual narrative, which comprises most of the book, details his entry into advertising
and the growth of the brothers’ business, along with his increasing focus on art, google_ad_width = 970; though it does not illumine exactly how the Saatchis managed to
achieve such business google_ad_height = 90; success, nor point out that it //--> was potentially achievable by src="//"> anyone who made it their goal and had sufficient acumen and driving force.

Regardless of what one thinks of Saatchi, a cumulative effect of the book’s narrative is to convey the staggering amount that he has achieved, particularly in terms google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; of the variety and number of shows and

artists bought (and