. . . to the Times of London
To promote his new art show–in which he does not appear–Charles Saatchi gave and interview to the Times:
Do you want to be a celebrity?
I’m answering these questions, so I must be pretty desperate for something, but it certainly isn’t celebrity.
Are you trying to educate or entertain?
If the programme is a dull flop, I’ll pretend it was intended to educate. But obviously it would be nicer if it were entertaining enough to draw people to contemporary art. [ . . . ]
Has photography rendered figurative art pointless?
No art is pointless. I had that Immanuel Kant in the back of my cab the other day and he told me that the meaning of art was that it had no function.
Should the country be spending money on saving Old Masters for the nation, or buying up works by the next generation of artists?
At the risk of being lynched — again — by the art crowd, I don’t think there is a great need any more to save paintings for the nation at the cost of supporting new art. What difference does it make if a Titian is hanging in the National Gallery, the Louvre or the Uffizi?
This isn’t the 18th century: people travel, so there’s no need to be nationalistic about the world’s art treasures. Much more important is to back living artists. [ . . . ]
How do you decide whether something is worth £10 or £10 million?
It’s not up to me to decide how much something is worth. People can ask what they like and I either put up or shut up. [ . . . ]
What is your favourite piece in your collection at the moment?
I don’t play Art Olympics. I don’t have a Top Ten artists or a Top Ten favourite works bobbing around in my head.
Have you distorted the market by being such an influential buyer?
I always thought that what people bought and sold was by definition “the market”.
Do you think you have messed up anybody’s life by flogging off all their work?
I don’t buy art just to make artists happy any more than I want to make them sad if I sell their work. [ . . . ]
Aren’t those dot paintings just like wallpaper?
You may as well say that Rothko paintings look like nice rugs. There’s no crime in art being decorative.
Aren’t the titles of so many works of art just too pretentious?
So much of the art world is pretentious, so why pick on artists’ silly titles?
The Saturday Interview: Charles Saatchi (Times of London)