Phaidon (2009), 176 pages
Art & Photography
My Name is Charles Saatchi and I am an Artoholic: Everything You Need to Know About Art, Ads, Life, God, and Other Mysteries – And Weren’t Afraid to Ask… is a simple series of questions and answers. The questions were posed by the public and Saatchi’s answers are always pithy and occasionally illuminating.
Saatchi is the UK’s premier art collector and the man who threw the petrol that that led to the explosion of Young British Artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. Saatchi (who made his money in the advertising business) is clear that there is no easy way to make money in art. It takes a certain amount of skill but also luck. Two artists can paint equally good paintings, one might sell for $500,000 and the other for $5,000. Art isn’t logical.
Of course it is hard not to read this book without your memory being tainted by the photographs of what looked like Saatchi throttling his wife Nigella Lawson. There are a number of questions about Nigella in the book an Saatchi’s responses are, not surprisingly somewhat strange: Question – “What is is like being married to a domestic goddess?” Answer – “She is too good for me, I know, but she knows it too and reminds me every day.” (p. 142) It emerged during the trial of Nigella Lawson’s personal assistants that they had been sent around London by Saatchi to buy copies of his own books in order to move them up the bestseller lists! Despite his apparent confidence and multimillionaire status there is obviously a deep insecurity at the heart of Saatchi. Nonetheless this is an interesting, if somewhat flimsy, look at the art world through the eyes of one man.