The Saatchi Gallery first opened in 1985 in a converted paint factory in St John’s Wood. It was back in the days when Charles Saatchi set the trends, and getting invited to a private view was like winning the pools. The space set the benchmark for London galleries and changed British art for the better.
In 2003, the gallery closed and moved to County Hall. The best thing about County Hall is that it’s halfway between Tate Modern and Tare Britain, but the tickets were too expensive and the location too touristy. It all became a bit blurred. The gallery didn’t feel cutting-edge any more, even though the shows were interesting. But it wasn’t there five minutes before they shut up shop and moved again to the Duke of York HQ in Sloane Square. After a lavish refit, it is set to open to the public this spring with an exhibition of contemporary Chinese art.
The gallery has gone back to its roots incorporating 70,ooo square feet of pristine white rooms. In true Saatchi style, the new space looks set to be bigger, provide a shop and bar, and offer free entry to all. Hopefully this will be the gallery’s new home for a long time to come.
‘The Revolution Continues: New Art from China’ opens at the Saatchi Gallery in late spring.