Nouveau Art: Saatchi Gallery Have you been yet? The new Saatchi Gallery in the King's Road, down Chelsea way. It's been open fora month, have you not popped in? It's free to get in, which is a bit of an improvement on the gallery's previous incarnation on the South Bank. And it's full of art! You're bound to go there some time, so why not go soon? well, maybe.
Charles Saatchi's latest art emporium is based in the former Duke of York's Building, a grand Georgian barracks with strong Palladian columns and an extensive grassy square outside. Appearances can be deceptive. Once through the door, the interior is anything but ancient. A pair of brightly lit galleries lead off to each side, each a shuttered white box in which to hang the adman's latest whim. To the rear a modern extension, not huge, but enough for an extra gallery and some extra staircases. There are three roughly identical floors, each a little anonymous, plus some additional space and a shop in the basement. Plenty of room, very flexible, and ripe for revisiting.
The gallery has an unusual atmosphere, especially if you're used to more formal presentation. There are no barriers in front of the paintings or sculptures, there's just the occasional notice asking you to respect the artworks and to keep children from touching them. No problem if you want to walk into the middle of the wheelchair display, for example, and become part of the performance. Photography is also permitted, big time. The more intriguing pieces each gather a small crowd wielding their cameras or mobiles, which feels either wonderfully inclusive or disturbingly intrusive, depending on your point of view. But it's an interesting space nonetheless, which stands or falls on the choice of works placed therein. Worth a look? by tube: Sloane Square