Saatchi on Saatchi

My Name is Charles Saatchi and I am an Artoholic: Everything You Need to Know About Art, Ads, Life, God and Other Mysteries and Weren’t Afraid to Ask by Charles Saatchi

The title of this little volume may be a bit of a mouthful, but former ad-man, now the foremost UK collector and exhibitor of modern art, Saatchi is a man unafraid of frankness. This book from art publishers, Phaidon, consists of a whole lot of questions which were put to him by critics, journalists and members of the public. His answers are very candid and direct.

He has two loves in his life – modern art and Nigella (Lawson, the cookery writer); indeed most of the questions are about one or the other couched in many different ways. His answers are wholly consistent, fascinating, and I was really entertained by them too.

To give you a flavour – here is a small selection of the many Q&A …

Q: How do you choose what to buy? Is it about what you like, or will you buy things you don’t like as an investment?

A: The more you like art, the more art you like. So I find it easy to buy lots of it, and seeing art as an investment would take away all the fun.

Q: As a general rule, are art critics all failed artists, and dismissed as such?

A: In the UK we have so many newspapers carrying lengthy art reviews that most shows find themselves getting a mixed bag of responses, and no one critic matters that much, whatever their credentials. My favourite, Brian Sewell, has never written a favourable word about any show I’ve done in 20 years, but dismisses them with such grandeur and style, it’s almost flattering to be duffed up by him. The days when critics could create an art movement by declaring the birth of ‘Abstract Expressionism’, Clement-Greenberg-style, are firmly over. By the way, there is no such thing as a failed artist.

Q: What’s Nigella’s cooking really like?

A: I’m sure it’s fantastic, but a bit wasted on me. I like toast with Dairylea, followed by Weetabix for supper. It drives her to distraction, frankly, particularly as she gets the blame for my new fat look. But the children love her cooking, and our friends seem to look forward to it.

Q: Did For the Love of God, Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull, symbolise the emptiness of modern art – more about money than message?

A: My dear, the money is the message.

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I bought this book. To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
My Name is Charles Saatchi and I am an Artoholic by Charles Saatchi, Pub 2009, Phaidon books, 176 pages.

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3 thoughts on “Saatchi on Saatchi

  1. I read the reviews on Amazon. Seems most were diasappointed that the book wasn’t more serious, deeper but judging from the excerpts I don’t think Saatchi meant to be. It looks delightfully flippant and I’m sure I would enjoy it but not sure I would want to pay for the read.

    • It’s a beautifully produced little paperback (as you would expect from Phaidon), with some photos of works mentioned, different coloured pages and fonts, but I did pick my copy up second-hand.

      It was flippant, but also serious at the same time – Saatchi, to me, seems to be saying this is me, what I like, and why I like it – and if you don’t like it bu**er off!

  2. I m not fan of the man but he has done a lot for modern art ,sure the picture in this are amazing just think of the pieces he has brought ,all the best stu

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