Minimalism And Charles Saatchi's Influence Of Art

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The urge to acquire and own art is a time-honoured one. From the grand patronage of Renaissance popes and princes (not to mention de Medici), to eighteenth-century British aristocrats, or the bulk buying of Europe’s cultural heritage by America’s J. Paul Getty, over the centuries art has been amassed for purposes of propaganda, prestige, intellectual enlightenment and sheer pleasure. Few activities run the gamut of human impulses more comprehensively than the acquisition of art. Yet, however lofty or ignoble the underlying motivation, the cultural significance of art collecting has always extended beyond individual desire. The choices made by the collector affect not only the monetary value of art, but also its cultural status. Collectors have had a lasting impact on the way art is exhibited and perceived, and even what kind of art is produced. When the British Raj amassed quantities of plundered textiles and metal ware, their love of these works influenced both the fellow collectors and the artists of the time; while a few hundred years later, Charles Saatchi’s presentation of Minimalist and 1980s American Art had a direct impact on many of the young British artists who were themselves to enter his collection. The art collector’s influence is broader today than at any other time in history. After all, why are art galleries and gallerists busy spending time and energy on a near-perfect display of art? Who are they all (the gallerist as well as the artist) trying to lure?

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