London's Art War

The South Bank of the Thames is a dignified, flourishing cultural waterfront, sporting national centers for theater, film and painting. It seems an unlikely spot for a battle. But this week a major salvo will be fired, as advertising millionaire and art collector Charles Saatchi opens his much-anticipated new gallery, just a riverside stroll away from his archrival, Tate Modern, which opened to huge acclaim in 2000.

Saatchi is one of the art world's most notorious figures, having used his wealth to shape a generation of British art. He favors works that make big, confrontational gestures, like...

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