Gotta love Australians. Having read via OTN that the Melbourne Art Fair was prepared to offer cut-rate booths to NZ dealers as an “Industry Assistance Package… donation,” Jarrod & Vasili of the Australian dealer gallery KALIMANRAWLINS applied themselves. “Is there any chance we can get the same deal and participate in next year's event?” they asked, which you have to admit is pretty funny considering.
Hilariously the Melbourne Art Foundation asked Board member and dealer Martin Browne to reply to the lads. It was rather like getting Lenny Bruce to go down and mollify a church group who are upset at cussing. As anyone who knows him might have expected, Browne took a somewhat satiric line asking what it was about being an New Zealand gallery that J&V didn’t understand. He then offered to consider the request if they would admit their gallery was in “distressed circumstances.” Why don’t we have this much fun in our own impoverished country?
And J&V’s response? “We take it that's a 'no' then to the possibility a discounted booth for 2012?” Now you have to admit that was kinda asking for it, and when it happened (Browne became a little unkind) they went to the MAF. “In most business situations the practice of negotiation is common and usually handled with a level of dignity and professionalism” they complained, “which is why we are surprised at the aggressive and abusive response we received from Martin Browne after our initial enquiry had been forwarded to him.” And it went pretty much all downhill from there.
Still it was fun while it lasted and a great deal more lively than stoushes here in NZ. Browne also gave OTN a bop on the nose writing separately that he thought we were being “prune faced” and “cynical” in our original story. True enough. Still, nothing too much wrong with prunes - you do have to love the way they loosen things up.
Image: a prune