After less than three years, the Saatchi Gallery's tenancy of County Hall on the South Bank is sadly being terminated, the result of an unworkable relationship with County Hall's owner, Makota Okamoto. Charles Saatchi said that the gallery couldn't develop "in this malevolent atmosphere."
Okamoto, who sounds like a Guardian pantomime villain, has been accused not only of kicking Gavin Turk's sculpture of a sleeping homeless person, but of denying visitors access to a disabled loo.
So Charles Saatchi is calling time on the 30 year lease, despite the 3 million pounds he invested in the difficult (ex Greater London Council HQ) but interesting spaces of County Hall. The Saatchi Gallery's new home (as of 2007) will be the Duke of York's headquarters, built in 1801, on the King's Road in Chelsea. It is another location that will require the spending of millions. Whilst Chelsea is far smarter than the South Bank, it has much less visitor volume and fewer nearby tourist-traps to swell the numbers. Saatchi is sanguine: "As long as it breaks even, I'll be happy enough."
Link to Guardian article:Guardian Unlimited Arts news Saatchi blames 'malevolent' atmosphere and says sad goodbye to the South Bank