Fans disappointed to learn that famed art collector Charles Saatchi does not actually appear in "School of Saatchi," a new reality TV series where contestants vie for a spot in Saatchi's namesake London gallery, should steer clear of his latest tell-all.
Rushed through a speedy publishing schedule to arrive on shelves before the show's U.K. premiere last week, "My Name is Charles Saatchi and I Am an Artoholic" was intended to create much-needed buzz around a notoriously reclusive figure. (Saatchi rarely grants interviews or attends his own gallery openings.) But instead of insights from a discerning cultural arbiter -- critics agree his 1997 "Sensation" exhibition of Young British Artists redefined the nation's contemporary art scene, if not the world's -- we get a vacant series of responses that reveal little about his process, and lots of contempt for the press. Asked whether there's anything he won't show in his gallery, Saatchi curtly replies, "Anything I don't like."
Following the book's U.K. release, The Guardian got through to the man himself and asked why he agreed to do a book in Q&A format with so little to say. His response:
"This way I can get everyone off my back in one hit. ... I have now given quotes on every subject under the sun so no journalist or biographer need ever waste my time by phoning or e-mailing me again. They can just write what they want to write and feed in the quotes accordingly. All that anyone is ever going to get out of me is now in the public domain. I just want to be left alone. So please do."
Point taken. Perhaps you'll have a more intimate experience with Saatchi's media-friendly wife, Nigella Lawson, whose "Nigella Christmas" cookbook also drops stateside this month.