Mysterious 'retraction' appears online months after story published by The Ottawa Citizen


Back in January, The Ottawa Citizen’s Zev Singer wrote a scathing article about Michel Luc Bellemare that, in so many words, accused the artist of fabricating his resume–an accusation that Bellemare vehemently denies.   The story itself is worth reading, but there is more to it now.

As Singer pointed out on Twitter the other night, there is now a “retraction” floating around on free press release websites addressing the story in question, and signed by “The Ottawa Citizen.” This retraction, Singer says, was not issued by The Citizen, but instead by Bellemare himself.  


 When I contacted Bellemare for comment on Singer’s allegation that he is behind the apparently-fraudulent retraction and to ask him whether or not he wrote it, I received a one-line, three-word response:  

“I did not,” Bellemare wrote me in an email.   

Singer did tell me he sent the tweet Wednesday evening without digging for proof that Bellemare had written and distributed it. That said, “the retraction has Bellemare's fingerprints all over it,” he told me in an email. “Having read dozens of his creations, and no small number of pages of his unique prose stylings, I know a Bellemare when I see one.”  

Singer did confirm though, that the retraction was not issued by The Citizen. From his email to me:  

In a way, this development is a fitting postscript to the story. The piece I wrote about Bellemare detailed, among other things, his practice of writing an effusive review of his own work, signing it with the name of a famous curator, museum or publication, and posting it on a free press release web site. Can I be surprised, then, that after our story ran a retraction and “full apology” appeared on the same type of site signed “Sincerely, The Ottawa Citizen?”  

The original story of Singer’s can be found here, The Artful Dodger.  And the “retraction” can be found “here.


       Although, I am not pleased with zinger's work in this circumstance, thinking it to be an exemplar of yellow journalism, par excellence, i did not write the retraction. Zinger's initial piece was a severe opinion-piece passed off as real hard nose unbias journalism. Their were many skewed facts in his piece but one of the main facts was that he stated "None of it was true" pertaining to my CV and this is yellow journalism, considering in our conversation I did mention I finished my Ph.d., sent an e-mail to the citizen that I finished my ph.d., and told him that each museum mentioned in the CV had an artefact of mine at different levels of processing and/or in their possession. And I told him that I thought these undeniable facts allowed me to mention these museum artefacts on my CV. And this is why I label him a yellow journalist as this is a central fact that changes the whole scope of his article and more importantly his headline. The only scandal here is his yellow journalism. As well, when a museum returns one of my artefacts, such as unacceptance or bureaucratic policy, which from time to time does happen, I take this artefact off my CV. And I believe this to be a reasonable method of operating in the artworld, such as it is today.
       I've been showing and exhibiting some 15 years, making a living at art some 8 years, and in the artworld and this is a first for me, zinger is a one of kind piece of work. His piece was my first bad review, a journalist who in my mind was bent on defamation from the start and who ignored real facts in favor of sensationalism and slander. I should mention as well that we never discussed performance, my art as performance etc. he took my comments which had nothing to do with performance and just wrote it out of the blue and attributed it to me. His aresenal of bloggers', romenesko, the vancouver sun, the vancouver art gallery etc. and the citizen just echoed his point of view like an echoe chamber, without even allowing me to respond. Or when I did respond these bloggers did not included my side of things in their story, my opinion was not even written into their story. The best i could do was add comments in the comment section of their stories at the bottom of the page.

"The brush is mightier than the pen!"

Michel Luc Bellemare          (The post-script to all of this is that facts do not matter to some    newspaper journalists like Mr. Singer and his arsenal of his lap-dog bloggers. The scandal here is the notion that such low brow slandering mediocrity is allowed to occupy well-paying journalism jobs. Mr. Singer, a yellow slandering journalist cloaked in the illusion of legitimacy.) 


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