The future of art? You must be joking - Painters' Painters, Saatchi Gallery, review

A Saatchi gallery member of staff walks past U.S artist David Salle's Mr Lucky (1998) at the Saatchi gallery. Credit: Andy Rain

The days when Charles Saatchi appeared able to dictate the direction of contemporary art are long gone. Sensation, the show that launched the YBAs – Hirst, Emin, the Chapman brothers et al – is coming up for its 20th anniversary. In that giddy moment, Saatchi, whose PR genius was widely regarded as having helped Margaret Thatcher to power, appeared the puppet-master behind a brash new era, when art was synonymous with big money, and young artists behaved more like rock stars than actual rock stars did.

Since then, Saatchi has paraded his continually evolving collection through a succession of lavishly appointed premises, from the old County Hall to the current beautiful suite of galleries in Chelsea. But none of the exhibitions he’s held in them has had anything like Sensation’s zeitgeist-defining impact. With titles such as New Neurotic Realism, a blatant attempt to hype a movement out of...


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