A few days later, a package arrives at Gekko gallery, addressed to the director, David Hansen. You're very busy organising the gallery's inaugural exhibition due to open next week, but you quickly read the note:
Dear Mr Hansen,
Enclosed are some works by Francis Geyer, an artist whose bashful nature prevented him ever exhibiting during his lifetime. With the impending publication of his biography in Archipelago magazine, this is the perfect opportunity for revealing one of Tasmania's hidden poetic talents.
To David: Shall we open the wrapping?
Hmm. Curious works. Tortured. Reminiscent of the English painter, Francis Bacon with his visceral oils. But they're not human bodies are they. They're trees made to look like human flesh. The major work reminds you of Judith and Holofernes, the Baroque painting of a woman decapitating a man. Except it's a suburban handyman gruesomely lathing a trunk of Huon pine. You look at the back. The word `Arborcide' is written on the canvas, and what's this? The stretcher is made not of wood, but some kind of bone material. You also find what appear hastily photocopied parts of the Grit in the Oyster. You read that Geyer was much more careful about hiding his artistic talents from public light.
To David: Would you show this work?
+ Lindsay is a little over-committed with exhibitions all over the nation and you're nervous that there may not be enough work in the gallery
|Lindsay Broughton, arriving direct from Sydney for his Hobart opening, discovers he will be sharing with limelight with a dead artist, and is predictably ropeable.|
- What might Lindsay think?
To Lindsay: David in his usual diplomatic manner calls you up to seek your reaction
to the possibility of sharing the gallery with a dead artist.
We move forward a couple of days. David has hung the Geyer works and they look stunning. The Governor is going to open the inaugural exhibition with a host of other important patrons, critical to the future of the gallery.
Meanwhile, Annie Warburton, taking a break from her routine line maintenance, looks at the latest pile of faxes. She takes from the top:
My name's John Dekker, though I sometimes go by the name of Francis Geyer. Boy, have I got a cool story for you. As big as Helen Demidenko, at least! Hansen's gonna have trouble sleeping tonight. He thinks he's got some rare undiscovered artist to show all the king pins. Wait till they find out this crack curator has been duped by a no good failed art student. I could take it to the commercials, but I thought the ABC could do with a little help. Do you want an interview or what?
To Annie: Will you do an interview?
+ National interest
Dekker has thoughtfully provided you with a schedule of fees: $500 for a grab, $5,000 for an in-depth interview and $50,000 for an exclusive.
To Annie: What will you select?
It transpires that John Dekker did not even make these works. They were made by the local cyber-punk, Troy Blair, who coincidentally helps lay out Archipelago magazine. It was a breeze for Blair to print out a few montages on canvas that simulate an authentic painting. To David: Your friend Annie rings and warns you of John Dekker. John Dekker? The name rings a bell. Wasn't he that artist who tried once to pass himself off to you as an Aboriginal artist, whose Ken Done style landscapes so offended the Aboriginal community? A man without principles. So what do you do? Do you withdraw the work and leave a gaping hole in the gallery, or leave it there are risk the credibility and thus future of the gallery? Do you take this yahoo seriously?