exhibition in 2009

the fiasco of Guildford Lane Gallery of Melbourne
the extended version

Guildford Lane Gallery is run by the toxic Robert Cripps. AVOID THIS GALLERY ASSIDUOUSLY!
Had I been aware of him, or had information on him been available prior to our agreeing to exhibit at Guildford Lane Gallery I (and my co-exhibitor, Lee-Anne Raymond) would NEVER have dealt with him. This page expands on criticism already made about the experience of exhibiting at his gallery [exhibitions].

ABOVE: Photo of a mobile device showing vakras.com not available after Robert Raymond Cripps threatened web-site hosting service Ilisys.

Robert Raymond Cripps is a transporter of art-objects. At some stage he decided to establish a for-hire-gallery space. In late 2008 Cripps opened the "Guildford Lane Gallery". Lee-Anne Raymond and I unfortunately - as it turns out - found out about it, and paid him in advance for the hire of his "gallery". We arranged to hold, in mid 2009, what turned out to be an "exhibition" in name only.

What Cripps did to us is described on this page and its hyperlinks.

Cripps wants this information suppressed. Evidence of his actions makes him look bad and as such it "aggrieves" him. In Australia a suppression of information can be accomplished by "defamation".

In Australian law, the only criterion needed to establish a "defamation" is that one party is "aggrieved" by the availability of information they would rather was suppressed; as defined in s12 of the Act. Australia's Defamation Act of 2005 was specifically created to assist those who seek to achieve suppression of information when the availability of information they wish suppressed "aggrieves" them due to its availability - though the Act itself disingenuously advocates that it intends to "not unreasonably" prevent the imparting of information, s3.

As a consequence, Cripps is suing myself and Lee-Anne Raymond for defamation, and has even sought to prevent knowledge of his suing us from becoming available because it too "aggrieves" him.

Cripps' lawyers have threatened to sue various web-hosting companies simply because they hosted our sites on their servers. An example known to us includes the threat by Cripps (via his lawyers) that he will add them as a party to his legal suit against us. As a result our sites have been removed either in part or completely from the internet. Cripps' actions even resulted in our being disconnected from the internet COMPLETELY, and unlawfully, by Telstra.

*VCAT has made a summary of the case publicly available: Australasian Legal Information Institute

**Lee-Anne Raymond's account of the exhibition can be found here

***News story on the case reviews.html

There are several words with which I can describe Cripps: poisonous, vile, repellent, malignant, racist, liar, bellicose, bully, stupid.

Cripps also runs Redleg a transporter of art
can you trust Cripps' Redleg?

Much money was spent by myself and my co-exhibitor Lee-Anne Raymond to make this show a success. This has turned out to be a waste of money. The owner, Robert Cripps, had, at the time of writing this, still not paid us for work that sold during the show [payment was eventually made around 6 weeks later - after we sought legal advice]. Payment of monies owed was only secured when we were forced into 'agreeing' to terms which were never in the original contractual agreement with Cripps, but which he demanded we agree to. He gained 'agreement' by placing us under financial duress. That he procured 'agreement' by duress renders this 'agreement' legally voidable.

During the course of the exhibition he, by his actions, circumvented our capacity to promote our work. Cripps turned the exhibition into an expensive debacle for us, but he made a profit on it.

Below: a photograph of some of the works exhibited at the June-July exhibition in 2009. The exhibition was of never-before exhibited works by myself and Lee-Anne Raymond. A fully illustrated catalogue was published to accompany the exhibition. (the catalogue can be purchased here). Essays which are featured in the catalogue were pinned alongside our artwork in the exhibition.

Cripps is a self-confessed racist [the new-left Nazis]
He is a manifestation of the new-left who have adopted the sentiments Hitler expressed in his Mein Kampf, but who believe that, though theirs and Hitler's sentiments are the same, their racism is a 'justifiable' one [new-left Nazis].

Cripps took exception to my explanatory essays.

Some of my essays juxtapose quotes from both the Old and New Testaments alongside Hitler's Mein Kampf, to show that Hitler's racial exterminations were Biblical (religious). [An assessment of Hitler's Christianity]

Hitler wrote:

"...I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." Mein Kampf p.60, Manheim translation.

Hitler's enmity of Jews is based on 1 Thessalonians 2.13-16 from the New Testament [details].

above: one of Cripps' many disclaimers (circled)

Yet it was not the exposure of the Biblical basis of Hitler's racism that Cripps took exception to. His actual objection was to my quoting from the Koran, particularly 9.38-52, in which the god of Islam, "Allah", guarantees automatic "martyrdom" to those who are killed while in the act of killing non-Muslims.

According to Cripps, quoting the Koran is insensitive to "Palestine", because he is opposed to, as he said, "the Jew's state in Palestine." He then accused me of "racism"! (Neither "Israel" or "Palestine", or the conflict there are mentioned in the exhibition)

For Cripps the actions of "Palestinian" (Arab Muslim) suicide murderers in killing Jews are justified. My quotes form the Koran show unambiguously that these acts are crimes committed on behalf of Islam. These quotes mean:

- that the Jews killed in Israel are victims of Islamic intolerance;

- that the Jews have not brought the situation upon themselves by their actions to which "Palestinians" are reacting. The Koran predates the existence of the modern state of Israel by over 1300 years;

- that his hatred of Jews is exposed for the outright racism that it is.

Cripps, who does not know the difference between opinion and fact, placed disclaimers everywhere in the exhibition.

The "Disclaimer" reads:
"The management would like to state clearly that the views and opinions expressed in this exhibition are those of the artists, and not in any way representative of the views or opinions of the management, staff or volunteers of Guildford Lane Gallery."

The quotes from the Koran though are NOT an opinion. What quoting from the Koran achieved was the exposure of Cripps for what he is: a racist.

below: detail of Cripps' disclaimer
Unfortunately, some of the photographs are not in focus (limited depth of field). When Lee-Anne and I visited to photograph our exhibition on 25 June 2009, he followed us, harried us, ranting, ordering us out of our exhibition, even though we had a legal right to be there, and he had no legal means of executing his demand. He is a bellicose bully limited in erudition and of limited intellect.

According to Cripps, my essays were unintelligible, lacked artistic essence (whatever that might mean), and read like legalese. The eyes of his volunteers ("the girls" as he called them), he said, "would glaze over" as they tried to comprehend the incomprehensible. In an email received 26 June 2009, Cripps wrote:

"also ensure that myself, gallery staff and volunteers will also not be approached by Demetrios without prior notification, as he has made myself, staff and volunteers feel very uncomfortable"

The above email was Cripps' response to our email in which we wrote to object about his conduct while we had been photographing the exhibition on 25 June 2009. His intimidatory behaviour included him walking to within a few inches of me to tell me that I threaten him, and thrusting his finger to within an inch of me to tell me he was frightened of me, and to tell me that I breeched our contractual agreement because he claimed that my art was racist. (A gallery visitor who was present witnessed these bizarre antics.) Rebuttals by Lee-Anne to Cripps' bizarre rants were met with the retort "you are a sarcastic woman". With regard to the above Cripps email, no discussion about the themes of my art occurred with anyone from the gallery other than with Cripps himself, for anyone other than Cripps to feel "uncomfortable". Cripps' conduct throughout was thoroughly disgraceful.

Since the staff and volunteers at Cripps' Guildford Lane Gallery acquiesce to, and agree with, his hatred of Jews and are in disagreement with me, then it would be a disservice to them if they were to remain unacknowledged and anonymous. [Though I had named them I removed their names 11/4/2011, for no reason other than it was Cripps who was the problem, even though the staff and volunteers, by their silence can not claim to be any different than he is]. They know who they are.

ADDENDUM 7 November 2009:
A number of the above mentioned "volunteers" have commenced an email campaign to have their names removed from this page using the threat of legal action. Cripps made numerous misrepresentations of my character, including the charge of racism. He claimed that his actions were undertaken on behalf of his volunteers. His volunteers constituted "evidence". The matters discussed on this page are based on emails, specifically the email with the subject title "a misrepresentation of our art" of 25/6/2009. His volunteers, were CCd into these emails. They were also CCd into the email response by Cripps, of the 26/6/2009, in which he made a number of new assertions for which he used as support ('evidence'), his volunteers. Cripps' email is written on behalf of the gallery (which includes the volunteers who he CCd into it). My rebuttal to Cripps et al with the subject "Addenda to: a misrepresentation of our art + rebuttal", was sent on 26/6/2009. The list of volunteers with whom we would be dealing during our exhibition is from an email from Pickett dated 30/5/2009. To my disgust none of the volunteers had the ethical integrity to distance themselves from the assertions made in their name by Cripps. Throughout they remained ethically deficient by their silence, and continue to be ethically deficient. They were unconcerned with any of the claims made on their behalf by Cripps (especially Cripps' email response dated 26/6/2009) as long, as it has become evident, they remained anonymous. If I had any misgivings about including any of them on this page I do not do so now.
(Their absurd shared belief is that permission is required to mention them by name, and that a mention without such permission constitutes "defamation"!)
As the course of events transpired during the course of the exhibition at this odious gallery, I often wished that a page such as this had existed on the internet. I never would have wasted the large amount of time, money, effort, and frustration by exhibiting in it. This page is intended to remedy such an absence.

ADDENDA amendments 11 November 2009:
Only one of the volunteers (whose name has been removed) ever distanced themselves from the representations made on their behalf by Cripps: "Robert Cripps does not speak for me…Any course of action or accusations Robert Cripps made against you on my apparent behalf as a volunteer at the Gallery came without my knowledge or consent."

Of the original list of names that appeared, two were not included in the email exchanges I refer to. The list of volunteers is incomplete; and any names omitted are a consequence of my not knowing them. Of the 3-4 volunteers with whom I exchanged any words at all, some exchanges were limited to merely greeting them with "hi".

If then, Cripps' representations on behalf of his volunteers were not made on behalf of volunteers with whom I did exchange any words (even if this exchange was limited to greeting them), it must be assumed that those he claimed I made, "very uncomfortable" are those with whom I exchanged no words, never saw, and never met. To reiterate, Cripps' disclaimers were written on the behalf of volunteers for reasons explained in (but not limited to) his email. And if I could list them all, I would.

ADDENDUM 2 April 2011 (re-edited 11/4/2011):
There is a bit of a risk in publishing a page such as this. The website is an electronic publication, a promotional exercise. To write about any exhibition would, with such an understanding, be about representing the exhibition in the best possible light. As such I should be writing of this exhibition being a success, about the number of people who turned up at the opening, referring to all possible positives. To write about an exhibition, and describe it in the way that I have here makes for something that detracts from the intention of the website as a promotional tool for my artwork. For the purposes of promoting my art I would have been better to never mention this exhibition ever, at all.

Cripps has become aware of this page - not that it was ever kept secret. He has undertaken to claim that what I (and my co-exhibitor) write "defames" him. Today I received a summons to the Supreme Court of (the Australian state of) Victoria for June of this year (2011). Cripps wants this page removed claiming that what I write is "false" (!). This is not going to happen: to remove what is written, on the claim by Cripps' solicitor that what appears on it is a falsehood makes it a corollary that I agreed to remove it because I agreed it to be false. You have to wonder about the logic of his legal team.

Cripps provides a service: a gallery for hire. This is our experience of the service that he provided. It cannot be altered. There is something wrong with the idea, that you:

- save for the money to afford to hire the space;

- pay for the publication of a catalogue;

- pay for the printed cards for the exhibition;

-pay for half-page advertisements in art publications;

- pay for the hiring of vans for the transport to and then from the gallery;

- pay for the printing, mounting and framing of digital works;

- pay for the framing of drawings;

- pay for the postage of materials to parties invited to the opening;

to then be barred from attending your own exhibition, prevented from managing elements of that show, and be told that what happened can't be mentioned because the person who made money (in the form of the money paid for the venue hired) won't like it! Essentially then, it would mean that I paid for the privilege of being humiliated, ridiculed, accused of committing fictional crimes and slandered. If that's what I'd been after, then why did I not just withdraw all of this money and just throw it into a crowd? have myself placed in stocks, and pay people to throw things at me?


The experience of my co-exhibitor and I with Cripps was not one unique to our exhibition.
Nearly a year after this disastrous exhibition I received the first of many emails we have both received from others who suffered in their dealings with Cripps.

It was after the receipt of this email that my co-exhibitor Lee-Anne Raymond, (whose page can be found here ) was emboldened to expand on her own description of this disastrous exhibition.

If the writ serves anything at all, it goes to show why others have been too fearful to describe their own experiences, and why there was no information, other than the self-serving promotional material, that we could have accessed that would have permitted us to make an informed decision.

ADDENDUM 7 June 2011
Cripps' legally sanctioned harassment of us ("SOC") has been resubmitted. We had feared that it would not be. We were not looking forward to commencing a claim against Cripps from scratch. We are not so much interested in our defence, as the elements of our countersuit of itself accomplishes this. I had hoped to time uploading my new page ( http://www.vakras.com/guildford_lane_gallery-addenda.html ) to occur a few days prior to the prospective resubmission of this case of harassment against us. I succeeded in timing it right. Our lawyers received the amended "SOC" on 3 June 2011.

I warn others to avoid exhibiting at Guildford Lane Gallery.

Lulled by the endorsement of this gallery by Australian arts bodies (see below) we spent over AUD$12,000.00 on our exhibition there, only to be publicly called racists (defamed), humiliated and barred from attending our own show. Then, simply because we recounted this sordid fiasco, we have been compelled to pay an additional AUD$8000.00+ in legal fees to date. These are not losses we are prepared to wear.

Exhibit at Guildford Lane Gallery at your own peril. Let our lesson be your lesson.

(Finally I corrected my many typos today!)


The bona fides of Guildford Lane Gallery

The gallery is listed by NAVA
URL: http://www.visualarts.net.au/linksservices/guildfordlanegallery

Bodies like the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), of which I was once a member, and which is itself funded by the Australian Federal Government, the Australia Council, etc, is intended to support artists and the arts community. However, NAVA lends this disreputable gallery credibility. NAVA is doing artists a disservice.

Other bodies that lend Cripps' gallery credibility are Artabase.

The Artabase site hosts Cripps' "volunteer program". These listings are misleading!

Do not be misled.

Avoid Guildford Lane Gallery
20-24 Guildford Lane,
Melbourne, Vic. Australia!

[ To read the review of this exhibition by my co-exhibitor, Lee-Anne Raymond ]

[return to exhibitions page]