The editorial column in the latest issue of hali begins with the following statement:
"Spare a thought for the hard work that goes into exhibiting at the Hali Fair. Ten days on the stand, plus a day each for vetting and set-up, take their toll on exhibitors who greet five o'clock on the last day with a collective sigh of relief."
What a load of rubbish is all RK can comment to this cry-baby paean written presumably by their new editor, ben evans. Might we suggest young ben get real and wake up to the fact that's why they call it WORK.
Jeezz, is RK the only person left who knows nothing in life is free -- that it takes hard work and diligence (which by the way doesn't entitle anyone to moan about their job) to get by?
But as bad a start as this was, unbelievably it went all down hill from there, a slippery slope at that.
Here is the beginning of the second paragraph:
"The Hali Fair is a useful barometer of the rug market in general. Its organizational, presentation, pricing and authenticity problems, as well as huge differences in opinion and knowledge, are those that plague the industry."
Again we differ from this highly self-served perspective, one typical for hali, and opine the only useful barometer the hali fair establishes is to see how many rug dealers will fall victim to the trap of schlepping their goods London in the hopes some Arab potentate or countrified Lord or Lady will daytrip onto their stand with open checkbook ready to buy goods specially marked up way beyond the call of reason.
RK asks: When will hali magazine get it straight and call the shots as they are instead of how they wish the rug world to see them?
For those readers who were able to continue past such poppycock the following awaited their eye:
"I kept hearing grumbles about how quiet the event was and that there were not enough buyers, yet opening day attendance was up forty percent and the overall total 34 per cent on 2004...At some point the lack of sales or lack of interest must cease to be someone else's fault. This whispering demonstrates a self-perpetuating negativity that saps the energy and enjoyment of the subject area, and acts as a disincentive to newcomers to this area of collecting."
Again RK finds such statements ridiculous, especially from someone like evans who has little or no knowledge of rugs and carpets besides what he has picked up around the water-cooler in hali's offices. Plus this sounds to us like evans is blatantly trying to shift the blame for the ill-conceived nature of the hali fair unto the exhibitors.
Bad move, benny-boy: Remember, without the hefty fees those exhibitors shell-out, the hali fair would deflate and disappear faster than a balloon stuck to a dartboard at your favorite pub.
But hasn't this always been hali modus operandi?
The editorial then proceeds to open the can of worms surrounding the issues of over-restoration and outright fakes and comes to the following conclusion:
"To avoid such uncertainty (ed. concerning whether a rug has been restored or is a fake) the Fair and industry must police itself more effectively, pooling knowledge and resources for the benefit of all"
RK would like mr evans to tell us, and everyone else who doesn't believe in the tooth fairy and tinkerbell, who is going to do this vetting and policing?
We guess this is a stupid question as the answer -- hali itself-- is so obvious it dwarfs any other possibility.
However, in light of the LACMA/dodds fiasco -- where you have a major US museum seeking help from three well known and extremely high profile supposed rug experts to vet a rug for possible purchase and. in the end, getting bilked by, in our opinion, a greedy (or was it just ignorant) rug dealer -- we doubt there will ever be any effective such "self policing" coming to rugdom from rugdom.
This "editorial", more an advert for the hali fair than examination of any issues, then ends on the coat tails of the following:
"Thus it is good to hear that moves are underway to create a rug and textile dealer's trade association, with articles of incorporation and a code of practice."
Guess hali and evans still believe in that tooth fairy, as the only thing two or more rug dealers can almost ever agree on -- is to disagree.
RK knows the scene too well to believe this idea will create anything other than another unnecessary bureaucracy with the same group of icoc/acor swells in charge.
And, as an aside, RK asks what have these folks ever done other than feather their own nests and make themselves more important.
No, folks, a trade association will do nothing to solve these problems and neither will hali's editor’s nail biting in print.
We end with a call to witness evan's last paragraph’s flight of fancy:
"The proposed body will see member co-operating to market rugs and textiles as art to a wider audience. Its badge will act as a reassuring hallmark for quality and authenticity."
Really? RK would like to ask if any reader, without evan's rose-coloured glasses on the bridge of their nose, would agree?
But, as always, the best is saved for last:
"It is through such collective effort, mutual solidarity and self-policing that the antique rug and textile trade, and by extension the Hali Fair, will be able to take responsibility for itself and thereby guarantee its future prosperity."
Come on benny, schaeffer et.al, face facts, the hali fair is ill-conceived, hence the whispers and grumblings.
We could go on but let us leave with the following thought: "What would the rug world be like without the pompous grips of hali, acor and the icoc on the steering wheel?
RK, and others we know, feels not only could it not be worse but, in fact, it would probably be a whole lot better.
In the final analysis it's all about bringing real science, true academics and, yes folks, less greed and strutting attitudes to rugdom.
Only thru these means, and not yet another bogus "dealer trade association" and the associated blah blah, antique and historic Oriental Rugs and Textiles will garner the widespread public support and appreciation this editorial revovles around.