The Saatchi Gallery is a London gallery for contemporary art, opened by Charles Saatchi in 1985 in order to exhibit his collection to the public. Having previously occupied two other premises, the gallery was transferred in October 2008 to its current location at the Duke of York’s HQ on the Kings Road near Sloane Square. This has been called one of the most beautiful art spaces in London having an area of 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2). Thanks to commercial sponsorship the gallery is the only completely free-entry contemporary art museum of its size in the world.
Saatchi’s collection has had distinct phases, starting with US artists and minimalism and moving on to young British artists including Damien Hirst. As a result the gallery has been an influence on art in Britain since its opening. It has also had a history of media controversy, which it has actively courted. Its exhibits have earned extremes of critical reaction. Many artists shown at the gallery were unknown not only to the general public but also to the commercial art world. Showing their work at the gallery has provided a springboard to launch careers. In 2010, it was announced that the gallery with over 200 works of art had been given to the British public, becoming the Museum of Contemporary Art for London.
Charles Saatchi is a British businessman and the co-founder with his brother Maurice of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, which in the 1980s was recognised as the world’s largest advertising agency.
The Duke of York’s Headquarters is a building completed in 1801 to the designs of John Sanders, who also designed the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. For many years it was known as the Duke of York’s barracks. However in 2000 it was sold by the Ministry of Defence and all military connection ceased. The site was redeveloped, The main building was preserved as it had been declared a Grade II listed building in 1969 due to its outstanding historic and architectural interest.
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