03.04.2015
14:19

Saatchi Gallery

Address:

Duke of Yorks HQ, King's Road, London SW3 4RY

Phone:

0207-811 3085

Website:

www.saatchigallery.com

Opening times:

Daily 10:00-18:00

How to get there:

Tube: Sloan Square

Entry fee:

Free

Selections from the attention-grabbing Saatchi collection of over 2,500 recent British and American artworks can be seen in the surprisingly formal setting of County Hall. These grand offices of the London County Council and its successor, the Greater London Council, were designed by Ralph Knott from 1902–22, when they were occupied by the LCC, and finally completed in 1974. Following the abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986, County Hall has hosted an eclectic variety of tenants, all attracted by the central riverside location beside Westminster Bridge. These tenants were joined in 2003 by the Saatchi Gallery, relocating from its white-walled, top-lit home in a former paint factory on Boundary Road, St John’s Wood, where it had first opened in 1985. Seven years later, picking up on the success of ‘Freeze’, a show curated in 1988 by Goldsmiths College Fine Arts graduate Damien Hirst, Charles Saatchi mounted a show at Boundary Road entitled ‘Young British Artists I’. The YBAs, such as Hirst, Tracey Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Sarah Lucas and Gavin Turk, predominantly conceptual artists and sculptors, have since monopolised the public’s perception of the Saatchi Collection, especially since the success of the ‘Sensation’ exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1997, itself perhaps an inspiration for the move into the establishment confines of County Hall. Recent shows here, entitled ‘The Triumph of Painting’, have begun to address other forms of art represented in the Saatchi Collection, while continuing to promote both established and up-and-coming artists working in all media.

A tour of any exhibition here entails a circuit of the parquet-floored corridors of former bureaucracy, with detours into the empty offices of erstwhile Council functionaries. These small individual rooms, windowless and wood-panelled, with stopped clocks above the municipal mantelpieces and cold grates below them, are intensely evocative—and also sometimes highly appropriate—spaces for the display of individual artworks or groups of work. Most exhibitions also make a feature of the Rotunda Room, formerly the Council’s conference room, with its domed, coffered ceiling and convenient bays between marble Corinthian columns. Another permanent fixture is the installation ‘20:50’ (1987) by Richard Wilson, a formal room filled up to the door handles with engine oil, a steel walkway let into the middle, creating a mirror image of the room. The effect is disorientating and pungent.

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MUSEUMS & GALLERIES OF LONDON

Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

Please do share your comments and updates with us via the form below the entry for each museum.

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Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
2 Willow Road (National Trust)
William Morris Gallery
Whitechapel Gallery
Westminster Abbey Museum
Wesley's Chapel
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Wallace Collection
Victoria & Albert Museum
Tower Bridge Exhibition
Tower of London (Historic Royal Palaces)
Tate Modern
Tate Britain
Sutton House (National Trust)
Spencer House
Southside House
South London Art Gallery
The Courtauld Institute of Art (Somerset House)
Sir John Soane's Museum
Shakespeare’s Globe
Serpentine Gallery
Science Museum
St Bride’s Crypt Museum
St Bartholomew’s Hospital Museum
Saatchi Gallery
Royal Society of Arts
The Royal Mews
Royal London Hospital Museum
The Faraday Museum
Royal Hospital Chelsea
RCM Museum of Music
Royal Academy of Music Museum
Royal Academy of Arts
Red House (National Trust)
Ranger’s House (English Heritage)
Ragged School Museum
The Queen’s Gallery
Prince Henry’s Room
The Photographers’ Gallery
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
Osterley Park (National Trust)
Orleans House Gallery
Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret
Natural History Museum
National Portrait Gallery
National Gallery
National Army Museum
Musical Museum
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Museum No. 1 (Royal Botanic Gardens)
Museum of London
Garden Museum
Museum in Docklands (Museum of London)
The Royal Observatory
The Queen's House
Old Royal Naval College
Marianne North Gallery (Royal Botanic Gardens)
Marble Hill House (English Heritage)
Mall Galleries
Lord’s Tour and MCC Museum
London Transport Museum
London Fire Brigade Museum
London Canal Museum
18 Stafford Terrace – The Sambourne Family Home
Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Leighton House
Kingston Museum
Kew Palace (Historic Royal Palaces)
London Museum of Water & Steam
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Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
Eltham Palace (English Heritage)
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Chiswick House (English Heritage)
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