Friday 14 February 2003 5.20pm
From Reuters news service. Now claiming April
Wed February 12, 2003 01:51 PM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's leading private collection of contemporary art will go on permanent show to the public within two months as multimillionaire philanthropist Charles Saatchi opens his new gallery.
"This is the most iconic collection of contemporary works of art in the world," Saatchi spokesman William Miller told Reuters Wednesday during a tour of the building.
The Saatchi collection, currently being assembled in County Hall
-- the seat of London's government from 1912 to 1987 -- should open in mid-April and put the finishing stamp to what has been dubbed Culture Mile along the banks of the River Thames.
"We will complete culture mile, which runs from Tate Britain at one end to Shakespeare's Globe
at the other, taking in the Hayward Gallery
, the Royal Festival Hall
, the National Theater and the Tate Modern
on the way," Miller said.
"There is a lack of knowledge and understanding about contemporary art. We will fill the gap," he added as workmen toiled to refurbish the monumental granite building that is now owned by a Japanese businessman.
The reclusive Saatchi, who made his fortune in advertising with his brother Maurice -- now a Conservative Party peer -- has over the past two decades amassed an eclectic collection that currently includes over 2,000 pieces.
He almost single-handedly made the reputations of BritArt's Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin whose pickled quadrupeds and soiled bed are the centerpieces of the multimillion pound collection.
Other works in the collection include works by artists Jenny Savile, Sarah Lucas and American Duane Hanson.