Home > Archive >Dealer in Curator's Clothing Fools No One
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Mon, Apr 10th, 2006 09:08:23 AM
Topic: Dealer in Curator's Clothing Fools No One

“The Ottoman and Seljuk courts were noted for producing magnificent carpets and luxurious textiles; refined examples influenced by Royal patronage will be displayed alongside more stylized versions of village and nomadic carpets from the 17th to the 19th centuries in this second “Masterpieces” exhibition organized by alumnus Dennis R. Dodds, M.Arch., M.C.P.

Exploring the historic legacy of tribes who established weaving traditions in Anatolia, the selection provides evidence of distinctive styles developed in certain regions being adopted into the design vocabulary of village weavers in different areas and relationships between motifs in architecture and other Islamic art as they appear especially in prayer rugs.

Above is the gallery handout description from the Arthur Ross Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania’s exhibition of Anatolian Rugs recently organized by dennis dodds.

Two years ago, also at this same Museum Gallery, dodds organized another rug show but that one was on Turkmen ‘masterpieces’.

Now all this might seem quite normal and jolly for the rug trade, however, when the covers are lifted off this situation and the truth is known, RK doubts this is good for anyone other than dodds.

It’s perfectly clear to us, dodds organized these two “exhibitions” to showcase pieces from his stock he would very much like to sell, as well as to exhibit pieces he has already sold.

Nothing makes a client feel better than having their rug hung in a museum show and dodds knows this well.

Well perhaps buying a rug that was in a Museum show is even better and this is also not lost on an eager-beaver merchant like him, either.

We noticed a number of pieces from dodds’s inventory or his advertisements were included in both these shows and frankly RK think this stinks.

Especially since none of those rugs, or hardly any of the others in these two show, could be correctly characterized as “masterpieces”.

That word, “masterpiece”, is one dodds throws around as indiscriminately as a Domino’s pizza chef does canned tomato sauce – and like tomato sauce dodds's bogus over-dating and mis-provenance leaves equally indelible stains.

RK thinks he should be forced to clean them up instead of getting away scot-free and leaving his customers and clients holding the cleanup rag.

Considering dodds pawned off a mediocre and extremely over-dated late period genre copy of an Anatolian Village rug on a naive soon to be retiring Los Angeles County Art Museum curator in late 2004 and has been using the Arthur Ross Gallery as his personal selling venue, RK believes it is time for him to be sternly rebuked publicly for these egregious violations of trust his high profile position as icoc chairman allows him to perpetrate.

RK is disgusted professionally by dodds’s actions and almost as much so by the lack of interest or comment those actions have received from my colleagues and the vast numbers of collectors and dealers interested in antique oriental rugs.

But we are even more upset personally dodds continues to misuse his position to bilk the unsuspecting with the same lame dog-and-pony-show of supposedly selling ‘important’ ‘early’ rugs, like the LACMA dud, that are in fact nothing close to the spurious, hyped-up claims dodds seems to feel entitled to invent.

RK has caught him red handed and publicly exposed him as the con-man, carpet-bagger he is but, life is surely stranger than fiction here, our expose’ has not resulted in his even missing one step on his way to his next victim.

These are pretty strong words and RK.com is prepared to back them up with this pledge: If anyone desires our assistance to prove any rug dodds has sold them was misrepresented RK.com will be glad to assist them, as an expert witness, to seek redress from dodds.

Here is a photo of dodds, the carpet-bagger, looking to us like he is hesitantly gazing into a future that seems unsure to him.

Well right he is in that thought because with RK on his hot trail, even a pompous, self-satisfied crook like dodds knows when his jig looks to be coming to an end.

RK is sure it soon will and until it does RK.com will be leading the charge to discipline dodds, remove him from any leadership role in rugdom and, of course, see him return the purchase price to LACMA and take his miserable late period genre reproduction of a Bellini rug back to his gallery in Philadelphia where it belongs.

Author: jc
Mon, Apr 10th, 2006 09:08:23 AM

(ed. We have posted this here and as a stand alone item in this Topic Area because we feel it is important for as many people as possible to become aware of dodds's charades that are only self-promotion and surely not to meet the far more lofty aims he, and others like hali magazine, falsely claim.)

Seems we are not the only ones who have serious doubts about dodds's ability to discern the age and provenance of the goods he curates or those he owns and sells. Often, as we have shown, the line separating his role as "curator" from that of dealer is, in dodds's case, very blurry and undefined.

So much so that the better minds over in professor price’s clownland, too, have started to realize dodds's egregious penchant to seriously over date his goods.

Not only does dodds add mythical centuries to his dating but he also provenances his pieces with little regard for reality.

Here are two rugs from the Arthur Ross Gallery exhibition that demonstrate dodds in action:

The rug on the left has been given a so-called Konya/Karpinar attribution by dodds and, as for the prayer rug on the right, he is equally on thin ice by calling it a Ushak.

Here is the entire Arthur Ross Gallery label, written of course by dodds that charlatan and shyster curator, who think nothing of hyping his own rugs and then trying to sell them while they are hanging in the University Art Gallery exhibition he orgnized :

“Pile Rug, 17th century
Central Anatolia, Konya/Karapinar region
Collection of Dennis Dodds and Zinaida Vaganova”
"In several of his paintings, the German artist Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) featured a distinctive group of 15th-century Anatolian rugs woven in this style. The “Holbein” nomenclature has been adopted in the literature as a useful descriptor for the group as a whole. The earliest versions, known as “small-pattern Holbeins,” employed an overall repeat of small medallions.

"This carpet displays one of the design variants within the small-pattern Holbein group: a solitary medallion on an open field dyed with pale madder. Its outline is stepped with four graceful volutes on stems that issue from opposing axes. Inside the medallion is a quadri¬partite floral form consisting of four connected stylized blossoms. The eccentric spandrels in this village carpet are analogous to earlier 16th-century court versions— sometimes known as double-niche prayer rugs—that are rendered in a more fluid and curvilinear manner. An energetic and angular meandering vine attaches stylized flower heads and leaves in the broad, soft yellow border. The carpet displays unusual simplicity, scale and openness in the design."

This rug was also published as Plate 20 in the "Atlantic Collections" catalog from ICOC VIII in Philadelphia. Dennis Dodds likely wrote the caption for it there. It begins "Central Anatolia, 18th century..." The caption seems to relate it to another Central Anatolian rug with a similar design (Plate 17 in the same catalog) but one Dennis describes as having more "courtly refinement.""

By the way not only does dodds own this rug but he also owns the “Ushak” prayer rug as well and both are being actively marketed as they hang in the University Art Gallery.

The most disturbing fact here is not dodds’s overly optimistic and bogus dating and provenance but his using the Arthur Ross Gallery exhibition to sell his inventory under the guise of providing public “education”.

Phooey, the only reason we can see for this “exhibition” is for dodds to use it as a selling vehicle and to ply is inventory on the unsuspecting visitors who trip into the gallery. Frankly, RK thinks this stinks, as we similarly believe dodds’s selling that late period genre “Bellini” to LACMA also reeked to high heaven.

Reading the dreamingly dopey and verbose “description” dodds blessed this rug, and many of the others in the show, with provides nothing more than one person’s (dennis dodds) highly optimistic and specious “opinions” – they are far from fact. Nor are they shared by anyone who has proven credibility or expertise with Early Turkish Village Rugs.

What dodds has done and continues to do is obvious – now, so much so, the amateurs in professor price’s circle even have raised these issues.

Here is some of the published debate going on between a couple of the people who post there regularly. RK must comment when ruggies like these, who are not very experienced to say the least, realize dodds’s attributions are fabrications, with little supporting documentation or chance for reality, how can the rest of rugdom turn a blind eye to dodds’s machinations:

“I also find the "Konya/Karapinar" rug intriguing. It is (obviously?) a villager's interpretation of the classic double niche prayer rugs that are typically attributed to Ushak of the 17th and 18th century… Interestingly, I have not been able to find a similar village rug published in the literature, only the classical Ushak rugs. Has anyone seen something comparably?”

The fact no other similar rug exists bodes poorly for dodds claims as does the following observation:

“So, I am wondering, ‘Why is this rug to come from the Konya/Karapinar" region?’ and ‘Why is it labeled as 17th century?”

Everyone should realize anyone who knows anything about Early Turkish Rugs would pose the same query and observation – dodds’s provenance is fanciful at best and downright disingenuous and deceitful at the worst.

RK feels his true motivations lie somewhere between.

Of course, there are those, like dead-eye john howe, who believe the pabulum and hype dodds spins.

Why, howe, even though he is a proven dumbbell ruggie could write the following, after reading the myriad of questions dodds’s attributions raise, is unbelievable:
“My sense is that he sees it as a nice country cousin of some more refined rugs of this type. Dennis seems now to see things in the spandrels that are analgous(sic) to some 16th century usages and has apparently decided that it should be estimated as older than it was in 1996. He apparently also thinks that a more precise geographic attribition(sic) can be made.”

Unfortunately, howe represents a fairly large group of ruggies that have been so indoctrinated and hypnotized by dodds’s rug world reputation and accolades (most of which RK feels are totally undeserved – especially in light of dodds’s growing belief he is untouchable) that they will swallow anything dodds says without question.

And this, dear readers, begs the central and most important issue --rugdom’s inability to self-regulate and govern. For if there was any semblance of regulation, a greedy duplicitous carpet-bagging dealer cum pseudo-academe like dodds would have been run out of rugdom long ago.

We will end this with a comment uttered by one of professor price’s posters:

“…the dating of the Konya/Karapinar rug seems quite aggressive…what indicates that these pieces are possibly from the 17th century and not from a later time period?”

While this query has, so far, remained unanswered in clownland, RK can flatly state: There is nothing to indicate, support or verify dodds’s dopey claims for his rugs and we challenge dodds, or anyone else, to try and prove different.

Author: jc
Sat, Mar 4th, 2006 12:32:57 PM

The fact dodds is using a University Art Gallery to exhibit rugs from his 'inventory', albeit mixed in with others that are not for sale, is nothing new in the art game.

We were not born yesterday, nor did we just fall into rugdom, recently.

We know this practice is one dodds didn't invent -- he is, in our opinion not clever enough to.

He is just following in the footsteps of other unscrupulous "dealers" who will do anything, and say anything, to 'make the sale'.

However, just because others have done this doesn't exonerate dodds or make what he is doing right or even acceptable by any standard.

Well, at least not standards RK upholds and believes.

The fact the Arthur Ross Gallery director was unwilling to even listen, let alone investigate, our accusations could imply many scenarios and we will leave it to the active minds of our astute readers to come to any conclusions they see plausible.

As far as we are concerned, Dr Winegrad's refusal to countenance the information we offered to provide is both distressing and wrong.

It is a FACT dodds is an egregious over-dater, a greedy over-pricer of his "goods", and a proven rug know-little when it comes to the finer, and often even the grosser, points of historic weaving identification and awareness.

Why has dodds not been rebuked for his incredibly obvious, and increasingly so, actions?

Why is RK.com the only place where dodds is not treated like 'royalty'?

Again we call for everyone who is concerned and interested with historic carpets to make it clear dodds's behaviour is out of bounds and over the limits of propriety.

Let's run dodds, and those like him, out of the rug world and maybe, just maybe, by starting to clean house where it is the filthiest, the necessary change our field needs will have a chance to flourish.

We know quite a bit about dodds and his transgressions and, honestly, can't believe he has not yet been subjected to the scrutiny his actions surely deserve.

Author: jc
Tue, Feb 28th, 2006 02:46:46 PM

Seems there are some people who can't see the curator's cloak dodds has temporarily wrapped himself in, or, should we say as we see it from our perspective, has become wrapped up in, is for all intents and purposes a disguise to allow him entree into a Museum's art gallery to display some of his wares salted amongst the "exhibits".

Yesterday, we called Dr. Dilys Winegrad, who is the director of the Arthur Ross Gallery where dodds's "show" is hanging.

We were quite surprised, but surely not amazed, Dr. Winegrad was not interested in speaking with us, obviously dodds has mentioned our displeasure with his activities to her and maybe even ‘warned’ her against speaking with us.

We do not think it unusual she would side with dodds but we do know her resistance to even hear what we had to say was not very professional, nor did it speak well of her interest to judge the matter for herself.

Basically she did not allow us to even get a word in edgewise and quickly terminated our call.

In response we sent her the email below and wish to share that with our readers.

By the way, we also sent a copy to dodds for his edification. Ha Ha on that one.

Here is the email we sent them yesterday -- we have received no reply and, quite frankly, we are pretty positive we won't be seeing any soon.

"Dr .Winegrad:

I called to question whether or not you knew dennis dodds is using the Arthur Ross Gallery to stage "exhibitions" that are in fact nothing more than vehicles for him to sell his merchandise and meet possible “clients”.

Dodds is not a collector, he is a dealer -- I should know, as dodds and his petty machinations in the rug world are well known to me since the early 1970’s when we first met.

FACT: A number of the rugs ( 7 or more) in this show belong to him (others are ones he has sold) and even some of the examples used in the publicity for the "exhibition” are dodds's and they are for sale, and dodds is trying to merchandise them anywhere he can, even as they hang in the Ross Gallery.

I have documented proof of what I write and would be delighted to make you privy to this information. It is prima facie.

Plus, the Turkmen exhibition dodds did for the gallery several years ago was equally salted with his goods that were for sale.

In light of the fact dodds sold a late period genre reproduction Turkish Village rug to the Los Angeles County Art Museum (LACMA) in 2004 as masterpiece mid-16th century artwork (something it clearly isn’t and not only in MY estimation, mind you) is proof enough of dodds's penchant to use public institutions for his own benefit.

By the way, he told LACMA’s naive curator, Dale Gluckman,(she acknowledges she knows nothing about oriental rugs and “trusted” dodds’s story) the rug was quote unquote never for sale and from quote unquote his private collection.

Both of these statements are blatant lies, as we have several rug collectors who will attest to dodds's having offered them the same rug previously.

Plus if that isn't enough, when dodds offered it to these private collectors it was less than half the price that LACMA paid!

Not very nice, as far as I can see. Nor is it proper.

Granted dodds knows Jack Cassin is on his trail and he is doing everything he can to marginalize my message and me.

Fine, let him try but the truth is clear and it will come out.

So, Dr. Winegrad, now you know some of the facts of the matter. That is all I wished to do here: --

To make sure you, unlike the naive and trusting curator at LACMA Dale Gluckman, who believed dodds's bogus spiel about a carpet he had been trying to sell very publicly for many years -- and one that had already been REJECTED by every important known buyer in the field – do not end up holding the bag for dodds's greed and improprieties like Gluckman and LACMA now have to deal with.

Your off-hand treatment to my call this morning is forgivable but your ignoring the facts of dodds doing business under the guise of "education" out of the gallery you oversee isn't.

Should you wish further proof of what I write I will be delighted to furnish it to you.

Jack Cassin
Weaving Art Museum
a nonprofit art organization

cc: dennis r dodds - dennisdodds@****.com"

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