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Fair selection row flares up in Paris

Parisian dealer Eric Dupont is unhappy about being left out again

Glaring omission? Dealer Eric Dupont is unhappy about being left out again

The perennial problem of who gets selected for the most prestigious art fairs—and in particular local galleries versus international players—has once again reared its head, this time in Paris. The organisers of Fiac (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain), which is held in the French capital every October, have come under fire from a furious Parisian contemporary art dealer, Eric Dupont, who used to show at the fair but has been rejected by its selection committee for the past five editions.

In a letter addressed to Jennifer Flay, the fair’s director, and later published by the French online journal Le Quotidien de l’Art, Dupont says that galleries of his generation are being sidelined in favour of “so-called international galleries, those with financial clout or ephemeral trendy galleries”. (The dealer established his gallery 17 years ago and opened a new space in Paris’s Marais district in 2011.) He says that a number of established, mid-career galleries in Paris and Brussels have also been left out.

The Fiac selection committee, which includes dealers showing at Art Basel—Simon Lee (2.1/K25), Christophe Van de Weghe (2.0/D7) and Gordon VeneKlasen of Michael Werner Gallery (2.0/B14)—defends its decision-making. Its members say that every major fair has “the same committee model”, which is changed regularly to reflect different nationalities and generations.

“[Dupont] is surely aware of how committees contain various perspectives and personalities, as [he was] part of the Art Paris selection committee a few years ago, and we assume that [he] applied the same level of commitment and concern for the integrity of the decision-making process,” the committee wrote in a response to the dealer.

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