School of Saatchi was an interesting reality TV style Art programme by the BBC and gave us a glimpse into the elite ‘Art World’ or ‘World of Contemporary Art’ as I have sometimes heard it called. It’s nothing like the inclusive world of webcomics and self-representing artists that I enjoy. It’s a world of Galleries and Collectors, waving a bone tantalisingly at attention-starved artists to see them beg and jump through hoops when ordered. Ugh!
It was farcical to watch the judges send away the artists who demonstrated good, technical ability and promptly ask the rest to do life drawing! I felt a mixture of amusement and annoyance in the first episode when the experts/judges started asking what art was. Frankly they came across as not having a clue (confirming what I’d long suspected). But ultimately Saatchi – a man of action, not words (or appearances) – decides, so we can ignore them.
On the subject of the ‘king-maker’ he has caught a bit of flack for doing this programme from critics. They say he’s not as big as he used to be and is trying to revive past glories. But critics like criticising. I quite like the way Saatchi covertly looks at the artists’ works and simply chooses what he likes. He leaves the furory and shit-flinging to everyone else. Good for him.
I’m not going to recap the show, I’m just going to give my opinion on the final contestants. I’ll try to be constructive rather than destructive if possible.