I half expected a response to my article yesterday about artists accusing Auguste Clown Gallery on Johnston St of theft. Below is the email I received yesterday from them, in which they confirm they are closing, and my response verbatim. These clowns are all the same: first threaten defamation then make excuses and blame someone else. Good riddance.
We were disheartened to read your article and the evident lack of journalistic ethics in seeking both sides of the story and presenting an article with factual groundings and impartiality. While it is an online blog, it is disappointing that you as an online journalist do not abide by Australian Press Council guidelines and the article borders on defamation.
Auguste Clown Gallery will be closing shortly as the current gallery model due to a significant decline in retail trade over the past year. Similarly, you will find a large number of vacant retail shops both in Johnston Street and Brunswick Street Fitzroy and talking to other traders, we are all doing it tough business wise. It seems Brunswick Street is heading down the path of Bridge Road, with increasing rents pushing niche retailers out.
However, it is a shame that a number of artists from October and November Show last year (half of which have already been paid) have taken to social media despite being told the Gallery is consistently working through outstanding artist payments. Each week a prioritised list of artists receive payment, book-keeping is a testament to this. Artists seeking payment have been made aware of financial difficulty and we are working under the guidance of a business solicitor. If there was malicious intent, then no artists would have been paid whatsoever.
We have been proud to showcase pop surrealism in Melbourne,; and even been fortunate to provide the opportunity to bring out several leading international artists from overseas to meet their fans at our cost. It’s a shame that business issues in the past three years – such as customer cancelled lay-bys, unpaid fees by external curators and Australia international Post issues – taint the business across with the same brush when these are common issues any gallery or in fact many businesses faces.
One thing I do agree with your article is that in Australia and abroad, selling art alone, particular in a high rental retail space, is hard financially. Look around and we see galleries struggling to survive which is a loss to the cultural character of our cities, particularly in Melbourne. The rise of online sales is great for some, but nothing can compare to seeing artwork in person, connecting with the piece and the artist behind it.
Oh you poor disheartened poppet! You make some effort to be anonymous, which suggests you feel you have something to hide.
My story was about the accusations. I have no reason to trust or distrust the Twitter users who made them any more than I trust or distrust you.
I don’t need to fact check with you as the existence of the tweets is an objective fact. There is no defamation in reporting their existence.
You’ve admitted to not paying artists. There is therefore no defamation in the tweets either.
Instead of blaming the world you should take responsibility for your actions.