In London, the lightning rod for controversy was a Marcus Harvey portrait of Myra Hindley, a notorious child murderer, done Chuck Close-style using hundreds of children's handprints. This painting was physically attacked at least twice: once it was pelted with eggs and on another occasion it had ink thrown at it. (Harvey's approach to conservation is worth noting: he cleaned the stains off the painting with a scouring pad.)
When the show arrived in New York, public fury centered around Chris Ofili's painting of The Holy Virgin Mary - an African Madonna accessorized by a clump of elephant dung.
"Britart" stars included in the show included Jenny Saville, Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread, Gillian Wearing and Tracey Emin.
In retrospect, it's undoubtedly worth remembering that Charles Saatchi made his fortune in advertising. Sensation was a huge success which brought in millions of dollars in revenue, and generated many more millions worth of free publicity for Saatchi and his group of artists, not to mention the many politicians and pundits who waded into the debate on "decency" vs. free speech.