Established by Charles Saatchi in 1985, The Saatchi Gallery, or the Museum of Contemporary Art for London as it has more recently been renamed, is best known for its bold display of contemporary artworks and thanks to its commitment to backing groundbreaking and conceptually challenging works, has been no stranger to controversy over the years. The museum’s annual series of Young British Artist shows have shown the media spotlight on a range of previously unknown artists, making household names of several attention-grabbing individuals. Now-renowned artists Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin both rose to fame through their inclusion in the Saatchi Gallery – it was here that Hirst’s famous pickled animals and Emin’s notorious unmade bed were first shown - adding weight to the gallery’s reputation as a springboard for rising talent.
Despite a number of venue changes over the years, the modern gallery is housed in the historic Duke of York headquarters on Chelsea’s King Road, with three floors and over 70,000 square-feet devoted to temporary exhibitions of both homegrown and international artworks. Now a public gallery, the Saatchi Gallery belies its worldwide fame by committing to offering free entrance to all exhibitions – the only gallery of its size in the world to do so.
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