There are not too many books out there that can be read and shelved well inside the hour mark. Charles Saatchi’s absurdly-titled 2009 book, My Name Is Charles Saatchi And I Am An Artoholic: Everything You Need To Know About Art, Ads, Life, God And Other Mysteries-And Weren’t Afraid to Ask… is one of them. And now from the same author comes another sub-hour read: Question, the latest paperback bound transcription of a Saatchi Q&A session.
Once again, the ad man turned gallerist submits himself-at his leisure, of course-to a series of questions posed by journalists, art critics and Joe Public. Here, in what the publisher calls “his brutally frank responses,” Saatchi talks art, divorce, the human condition, religion, the royals, money, the press and sex, among other things.
On the improbable success Saatchi & Saatchi, the ad agency he co-founded with his brother, Maurice: “It’s hard to imagine how any client could entrust their advertising account to two pushy youths with silly names, carrying on with a burning righteousness that would have fooled nobody.”
Of the inane, blaringly loud commercials that punctuate modern television programs: “The stupidity of advertisers and broadcasters who take the public a) for granted and b) for mugs is bewildering.” After all, pumping the volume up to “awesome levels” is not only “very irritating” but also “self-destructive because … many people now have the technology to skip past the commercial breaks, and so of course they do.”
As for art, and artists specifically, Saatchi says, “I admire all artists. It’s the cruellest job you could ever take on, particularly if you are gifted, but forever unrecognized.” But for those considering forging a career as an artist, think again. As he says, “The odds are stacked very heavily against making a living out of it.”
Book and cover image courtesy of Phaidon.