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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 November, 2004, 17:03 GMT
Tate 'denies Saatchi donation'
Charles Saatchi
Saatchi said the Tate "lacked curatorial ambition"
Tate Modern has denied claims that the gallery turned down Charles Saatchi's offer of his 200m collection.

Mr Saatchi told the Sunday Telegraph that Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota refused his collection of 2,500 works.

Sir Nicholas said Mr Saatchi had proposed to loan the collection, but any loan would have involved costly renovations to house the objects.

"At no point was there any suggestion that the collection was being offered as a gift," a spokeswoman said.

"Last year Charles Saatchi, then having difficulties with his landlord at County Hall, approached Mr Serota with the suggestion that he would like to move displays of his collection from County Hall to the derelict 'oil tank' spaces at Tate Modern," a spokeswoman for Tate Modern said.

Tate Modern
Tate Modern said it welcomed major works from Saatchi's collection

"Mr Serota explained that these spaces could not be used without major expenditure.

"Of course the offer of a gift of major works from Charles Saatchi's collection would be a most generous gesture and would be much welcomed by Tate Trustees," she added.

"They have always made it clear that they would be very pleased to acquire, by gift or purchase, major works from the Saatchi collection."

In the interview, Mr Saatchi - who is married to TV chef Nigella Lawson, sister to the editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Dominic Lawson - made scathing remarks about exhibitions at the Tate Modern.

"The Tate seems sadly disengaged from the young British art community," says Mr Saatchi, whose own collection includes Tracey Emin's unmade bed and Damien Hirst's pickled shark.

"It isn't enough to rely on the latest Turbine Hall installation and the Turner Prize to generate interest."

Mr Saatchi blamed the curators for the lacklustre collection of modern British art and urged them to "get out more".

Sir Nicholas Serota
Sir Nicholas urged artists to donate works to the Tate

"The Tate curators didn't know what they were looking at during the early Nineties, when even the piddliest budgets would have bought you many great works."

Last month 23 artists agreed to donate works to the Tate collection after Sir Nicholas said government grants were insufficient to buy new work.

"We have to take this initiative to sustain our public collections in the face of declining public resources," he said at a press conference in October.

"This move by the artists is a public demonstration of their concern that this collection should continue to grow."




SEE ALSO:
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28 Oct 04 |  Entertainment
Artists donate to 'hard-up' Tate
25 Oct 04 |  Entertainment
Saatchi shifts focus to paintings
01 Oct 04 |  Entertainment
Saatchi 'devastated' by art blaze
26 May 04 |  Entertainment
Nude opening for Saatchi gallery
16 Apr 03 |  Entertainment
Saatchi: the mogul of British art
26 May 04 |  Entertainment


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