Friday, November 25, 2005

A useless waste of $90,000


Each year for the past 10 years, AGAC awards the Prix Pierre-Ayot and the Prix Louis-Comtois. This year the winners were Emmanuelle Léonard, and Claire Savoie. [clarification: Just so everybody doesn't get hot under the collar, I am not making any judgments about the work of either Ms. Léonard or Ms. Savoie.] Congrats to them both.

You'd figure, since it was the 10th anniversary, there'd be some heavy duty publicity going on. Nope. AGAC hasn't even figured out how to update their site so as to reflect the new winners. You'd figure that there would be some heavy duty big bash designed to celebrate the winners and console the losers. Nope. You'd figure that after ten years they'd maybe perhaps organize a small exhibit of the winners. Okay, they did do that, unfortunately it only toured around Montréal, and it was done after nine years of prizes, and it ain't touring anymore.

If I was spending $9,000/year to "promouvoir l'excellence de la nouvelle création en arts visuels à Montréal et favoriser la diffusion des oeuvres de jeunes artistes dans les galeries et centres d'artistes montréalais" [promote the excellence of new visual arts creations in Montreal and make it easier to circulate the works of young artists in the galleries and artist run centers of Montreal]. Or to "promouvoir la reconnaissance d'un artiste qui s'est distingué dans le domaine de l'art contemporain à Montréal" [promote the knowledge of a distinguished contemporary Montreal artist]. Then I sure as shootin' would not be satisfied with the job that has been done so far.

Conveniently Marc Seguin, who won the Pierre Ayot (for best young artist) in 1998 has an up to date CV on his website Does that look like the CV of someone about to turn the art world on its head? Or looking for Google juice, the winners over the past five years get this:

Pierre Ayot Prize
Nathalie Grimard (2001) - 328
Michel De Broin (2002) - 799
Pascal Grandmaison (2003) - 630
Jérôme Fortin (2004) - 646
Emmanuelle Léonard (2005) - 594

Louis Comtois Prize
Roberto Pellegrinuzzi (2001) - 652
Alain Paiement (2002) - 710
Richard Max Tremblay (2003) - 766
Stephen Schofield (2004) - 679
Claire Savoie (2005) - 517

While I'm never one to sneeze at free cash, I would strongly recommend that next year's winners refuse the awards, because it sure as shooting looks like winning them means the kiss of death to an artist's career.

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