Edmonton

Londonderry Mall’s response to tearing down CAPRICIOUS! Art Installation


“Londonderry Mall approached Capricious! to host a month long art show.  As managers of the mall, we have always maintained the right to change and alter any display or promotion and Capricious! accepted that by asking us to host the event.  Our retailers pay market rents to operate their business in our shopping centre.  Our commitment to them is always our first priority and consideration.  When we attempt to bring new ideas or displays in the mall, there is always a risk that it will be pulled given feedback from customers or retailers or ownership.  As artists, when you ask someone to display your product you must consider the palette is not yours and be aware that someone else holds final rights and approval.

There was considerable preparation put into the space to be prepped for your display.  This premises was also offered at no charge to Capricious! and we always charge rent for our spaces as  we are a business.   When the end product was displayed in the mall, it did not match my vision which I l had anticipated with the event.   It was appropriate for us to pull the work. We have that right as managers of the mall and we offer no apologies for doing our job.  The art displayed in our mall has done extensive damage to columns and walls in our common area along with the labour and materials to repair.  We kindly accepted  that as our cost; however, it is inappropriate for you to suggest compensation.

Despite the removal of the display pieces in the mall, we were still gracious enough to continue to host the show in the original premises at no charge.”

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8 replies »

  1. Saying “original premises” is very misleading wording. There was never any “original” premises — From day 1 we were offered free reign of the whole mall. I have emails with her suggesting the art goes throughout the mall. That she didn’t at all address the damage they most likely did to the artwork is really troubling — clearly there was not care taken if they damaged their own column.

  2. I believe “original premises” is used in this context as the property, not the agreement. Hence the use of the phrase “in the original premises” as opposed to “under the orignal premise”. What they are saying is they didn’t move the entirety of the display but instead allowed it to remain in the original spot which was assigned to the display.

  3. I am curious about one thing: the reference in Londonderry’s letter to “damage to columns”. Did mall staff supervise the installation? Were nails pounded into columns and walls? Because even an art gallery would take issue with that. What is the specific damage they are referring to in the letter?

    • This is the response I rec’d from Tinneke in response to the questions I posed to them:

      Hello Dawn,

      We appreciate that you are taking time to find out more about the art installation in the mall.

      There was not a contract in place. Only a verbal agreement. We have insurance and I would assume that the artists would have insurance if they choose to display their pieces in public venues. We do require anyone coming in the mall to provide insurance.

      With any partnership, display or promotion or any type of tenancy, the mall always reserves the right to make changes as necessary.

      It was decided that the art had to be moved before the mall opened and the art was moved with care. Although we do have pictures for liability purposes, we have since fixed the damage and repainted spaces from the show that was caused to several walls and flooring with the installation. Many of the decorations were hung with double sided tape and to avoid damage to the pieces, the staff removed paint off the surfaces.

      Londonderry Mall still offered an in-line store unit to Capricious! to utilize – a space that will showcase the six artists and pieces from the show. The goal of the show was to showcase art to the public and that still is possible in the space provided.

      We were able to let the Curator know that the rest of the installations that were still forthcoming would not be able to be accommodated, prior to their planned installation the evening of October 1.

  4. I have a few questions for Ms. DeJong:

    1. Did the Mall enter into a contractual arrangement with the organizers of the Capricious show, and if so, did Mall personnel breach that contract by unilaterally dismantling of pieces included in the show?

    2. Why didn’t Mall personnel make any attempt to resolve their concerns while the show organizers were on site hanging it? If they weren’t happy with how certain pieces were being assembled, why say nothing?

    3. Given that they decided to dismantle the show in part or in entirety, why didn’t Mall personnel contact the show’s organizers to have them safely remove the pieces instead of waiting until they went home, and having their far less experienced Mall staff take them down? Why would the Mall put itself at risk for damages by doing so?

    4. Did Mall staff cause damage to any of the pieces they removed? If so, will the artists receive any compensation for said damage? Was there insurance in place?

    5. Can the Mall substantiate their allegations that “extensive damage” was done to their common space?

    Apparently Ms. DeJong, presumably with the knowledge and consent of the Mall’s GM, simply decided she didn’t like the show, but rather than showing the organizers the courtesy of attempting to correct any problems, she said nothing, waited until they went home, and then had her own staff “pull” the pieces. She has shown a singular disregard for the artists, their work, and the investment in time by organizers required to hang a show of such proportions.

    Moreover, she has done the organization she works for a great disservice. She has needlessly made them vulnerable to legal claims should it come to light her staff caused damage to any of the artwork in the show. She has single-handedly undone much of any benefit the Mall has derived from its paid advertising with her thoughtless actions and cavalier explanation, and the bad press that has ensued. She has turned what promised to be good exposure for the Mall into a publicity disaster, aggravating many Edmontonians.

    I wonder how the Mall owners and merchants will feel about her ill-considered actions? I doubt they’ll be too happy that one of their own has managed, in one fell swoop, to sabotage their efforts (and costly advertising) to present the Mall as a shopping destination of choice in Edmonton. I most certainly won’t be shopping there anymore.

    Dawn LeBlanc
    Editor
    Art Rubicon Visual Arts Magazine
    artrubicon.ca

  5. It’s interesting how they refer to the artwork as a “product”. Were any of those pieces for sale? It’s like the mall is trying to make the artists into selfish capitalists who want to make money, and the mall has graciously given up their cut of the profit.

  6. I just found this. Londonderry had an opportunity to learn along with the very short time line of the installation. The result of skittishness means they will try to do it again and face the same problems. Word to artists do no work with venues that aren’t brave, Londonderry obviously has a comfort in “Average”. I saw a few pieces, good for you people! I think they are impressive! Edmonton is just learning to relax and let different ideas happen creatively, Londonderry lost on so many level’s imagine the exposure shops would of had by visitors to the show. Good luck

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