Friday, November 24, 2006

All Riopelle All the Time!!


Apparently this blog is more important to La Presse, than La Presse is to Zeke's Gallery. Last month I pointed out how the people who work in the IT department at La Presse are not terribly good at their job. Well, today someone who works at La Presse decided to email me to make sure that I read their special section devoted to the upcoming auction of 'Il était une fois une ville' by Riopelle. I can think of a number of reasons why they would want to make sure that I read it, but I figure it is best if you use your own imagination.

First off, I gotta give 'em props, as they are the only newspaper in town who bothered to do a preview. If the Canadiens lose tonight, and the Riopelle sets a new record, it will make the front page of the Journal de Montreal tomorrow, which would be pretty gosh darn cool (Go Buffalo!).

But as for the article, Martin Vallières (the writer) obviously hasn't been doing this art beat thing for a very long time, probably only since Tuesday or so. His first paragraph talk about 'uncertainty in the art market since the death of Ken Thompson.' If there is any uncertainty in the art market, then Zeke's Gallery is the most important art gallery in Canada. Ritchies auction on Monday showed without a doubt that there are numerous other people who are taking the place of Ken Thompson.

Second, while 'Il était une fois une ville' is in fact being sold tonight, there are three Riopelle paintings that are being sold. And the other two are nothing to sneeze at either.

There are a couple of other articles about art sales, the second one that I read which was written by Mario Cloutier is so ridiculous as to be beyond belief. He starts out by translating some stuff that has been published elsewhere about the auctions and sales of art in the United States. Somewhere about the ninth paragraph he decides to stick in some local content, and gets a quote from Jacques Germain, as he puts it 'a Quebecois art dealer,' although it also could be translated as a dealer in Quebecois art - but it isn't because Jacques Germain deals in African Art. If I were writing for La Presse about the upcoming Canadiens' hockey game, and I got a quote from the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes to explain the article, I would not be writing for La Presse much longer.

Then to make matters worse M. Germain apparently thinks that the exponential increase in prices of art this past year has nothing to do with speculators. Umm, if you have been hiding under a rock for the past year or so, all the fancy ass and incredibly expensive art has been bought by Hedge Fund Managers. The very definition of a Hedge Fund Manager is someone who speculates. How anyone who has even a passing interest in the economics of art could think that there was no speculation involved is just completely out to lunch. I see no need to read the rest of the article if the beginning was wrong.

The third one that I read was by Jocelyne Lepage, and she seems to have a head on her shoulders. She talks to Marc Mayer who touts Matthias Weischer and David Altmejd. And the fourth one is just a list of paintings and prices, I can only hope that the print version had pictures.

Then there is a fifth article on art, that explains how Annie Pootoogook won the Sobey Prize. Fine, but as she won the $50,000 on November 7, why is it only making the newspaper today?

I appreciate it when there is this much coverage of the visual arts in a daily newspaper, however if it stinks up the joint I can understand 100% why they don't do it more often. Perhaps they should hire some better arts reporters, or it might have something to do with the editorial staff not taking the visual arts very seriously. I do't know, but it doesn't make me happy at all.

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