The Saatchi Gallery is a London gallery for contemporary art, opened by Charles Saatchi in 1985 in order to exhibit his collection to the public. It has occupied different premises, first in North London, then the South Bank by the River Thames, and finally in Chelsea, its current location. Saatchi’s collection—and hence the gallery’s shows—has had distinct phases, starting with US artists and minimalism, moving to the Damien Hirst-led Young British Artists, followed by shows purely of painting, and then returning to contemporary art from America in USA Today at the Royal Academy in London. A 2008 exhibition of contemporary Chinese art formed the inaugural exhibition in the new venue for the gallery at the Duke of York’s HQ.
The gallery has been an influence on art in Britain since its opening. It has also had a history of media controversy, which it has actively courted, and has earned extremes of critical reaction. Many artists shown at the gallery are unknown not only to the general public but also to the commercial art world; showing at the gallery has provided a springboard to launch careers. In 2010, it was announced that the gallery would be given to the British public, becoming the Museum of Contemporary Art for London.