Saatchi Gallery

Exhibitionism (and Butt Plugs)
My latest venture is one of culture and refinement, and inspired by a video sent to be by the great head of hair that is my editor. The video, created by Paul Joseph Watson, decried modern art and discussed how vast swathes of it were little more than talentless drivel. Upon learning of some of the featured examples of “art” in the video, I had to see some for myself. The Saatchi Gallery is an epicenter of modern art, and as soon as I arrived, I knew I was in for a treat.
          Upon buying my £21.50 ticket I learned that the main feature being shown was a Rolling Stones exhibition called “Exhibitionism”, which spanned across three-quarters of the entire gallery. In short, if you don’t like The Rolling Stones, you’re stuffed. The entrance lobby to the Saatchi was everything you’d expect from a large gallery in an up market part of town; piercing white walls, cubic ultra-modern minimalism on pine wooden floor. The windows along the entrance were in keeping with its prominence, pouring in enough light to please even the most demanding of art critics, be it the general public or the re-animated corpse of Julius Caesar. As I made my way into the first exhibit hall, a suited Russian in aviator shades and an earpiece ensemble made it more than clear that I wasn’t to photograph any of the exhibits inside.
          Before I got to The Stones, I stumbled upon the kind of modern art the good Mr. Watson had forewarned. A picture of a man’s wrist with a hospital band on it, some chipped plywood, a wall with some pencil shavings nearby. Many of the pieces were untitled, and reminded me of the artwork in my piece on Savile Row. The final room of the Saatchi gallery was scarce, and white, and held a piece of work that summed up the very problem with art today. It was a blue front door that had been laid down in the centre of the room. I moved closer in hope that what I was seeing was wrong. But there, stuck on the middle of the door, was a glass butt plug.
          As I entered The Rolling Stones exhibit, I expected the same level of punitive trite. The room was dark and lit only by a few TV screens on the wall that played clips of the Stones performing at a sell out gig. It’s a shaky start, when as a paying punter you walk aimlessly from darkened room to darkened room, watching clips that you could have just as easily found on Youtube.
          Thankfully, it soon became clear this wasn’t the case. The next few rooms were illuminated with a fantastic cherry red, showcasing some of the instruments that the band used on tours across the world. As I peered in close at the guitars (that were protected in a shroud of reinforced glass) I could see its knocks and imperfections. As a big fan of the Rolling Stones, I couldn’t help but get a buzz from peering close to an instrument that was once used by Ronnie Wood to blow the socks off an insurmountable crowd.
          The exhibition continued, showing various stage plans and memorabilia from The Rolling Stones. One particularly interesting article was a reconstruction of the band’s flat when they were teenagers. Every grimy carpet stain, filth-ridden chair, and bed cover had been faithfully re-done. What concerned me most was that this served as a reminder of the impoverished hardship they’d started out in, yet I’ve seen worse in today’s student housing… far worse.
          However, about halfway through the exhibition, it took a dangerous step back to the basic TV set up I was first introduced to. Another dark room, and you could sense trouble; they’d provided seats for you so obviously this was to go on for a while. The piece was an interview in which Martin Scorsese hammed up his film on The Rolling Stones. He used god-awful cliché phrases as he fawned over his camerawork and direction on the band.
‘They were a big part of me,’ he eulogized. ‘It felt like they were speaking to me directly.’
I sat there as he continued using typical artsy wank terms like ‘Layered complexion.’ People around the room would nod in agreement, as if they were trying to convince themselves that Scorsese wasn’t talking utter nonsense. He continued to let you know how fantastic he was for a further eleven minutes before it all thankfully came to an end.
          The exhibit picked up again however, as the next room showcased the gnarly outfits the band wore on stage. Each item was placed on a mannequin that struck an outlandish pose to flaunt their shiny lapels and gothic jackets. “Exhibitionism” also granted a decent finish, with a reconstruction of a backstage Rolling Stones concert, equipped with a hearty 3D farewell from the band by way of a stage simulation.
          Whilst there may have been one floor of the Saatchi gallery that went a butt plug too far, I found the rest of the exhibit to be worth the price of entry, and I’d recommend it for any Rolling Stones fan. For this particular venture I went for a more exuberant lighter, lathered in a whacky leopard skin purple, colour-picked from the wardrobe of Mick Jagger.

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