Home > Archive >hali's Jaundiced dodds/Ross Gallery Review
Thu, Aug 24th, 2006 05:53:16 AM
Topic: hali's Jaundiced dodds/Ross Gallery Review

We just received notice a “review” of the Arthur Ross Museum “exhibition”, curated by dennis aka a dealer in curator's clothing dodds, has just appeared on the hali website.

It is pompously entitled “Advanced Degrees” and was written by Theodore Mast

But the pomposity of the title is totally overshadowed by the unconscionable fawning praise the reviewer doles out to dennis dodds, a proven carpet-bagging, rug dealing malfeasant if there ever was one.

As we were reading mast’s transparent accolade to himself and his idol, dennis -- mr raise the price when it doesn’t sell -- dodds, we could not but help thinking either hali has been taken over by aliens or we have suddenly found ourselves as that stranger in a strange land.

We reprint it here adding our, as always, 20/20 comments in italics.

Honestly, just when we thought rugdom and hali could not get any lower, mast’s unbelievably outrageous claptrap, hype-infested sycophantic-fantasy eulogizes dodds and his curatorial prowess to the point of our expecting to see The Almighty himself come down from heaven to personally congratulate and bless dodds for the great job he has done.

To call this review BS sullies that term to no end.

By the way, having a review written by one of the lenders to the show, who clearly is a bosom-buddy of dodds, is about as nepotistic as hali could get – well they could have had dodds himself write it, now couldn’t have they. And we are surprised they didn’t.

We have heard how desperate hali is for correspondents and text material and, from what we have seen lately, desperate is far too gentle a description.

Can’t hali find anyone with substantial knowledge and rug substance who is without a personal agenda to write a review like this?

Obviously not, read on, fans…

“What do Benjamin Franklin, Victorian architect Frank Furness and Dennis Dodds have in common?”

If this opening line doesn’t make you reach for a barf bag we don’t know what could.

RK doesn’t know who Furness is, nor would we even bother to look him up, but mentioning dodds in the same breath as Franklin is about as stupid as referring our present resident in the White House as George Washington or Paul Revere.

Yesshhh, come on now mr Mast, wake the freak up.

“Facial hair, pattern baldness and architecture would have been educated guesses, but none would have scored better than two out of three.

Correct answers are a fine appreciation of oriental rugs, fine tailoring and links to Penn.

Franklin, among other things, founded the Charity School in 1740, later reorganized to become the University of Pennsylavania[sic]; Furness designed the delightfully eccentric fine arts building and library that includes the Arthur Ross Gallery, where Dodds, graduate of the university's School of Architecture, recently curated "Antique Anatolian Carpets: Masterpieces from Philadelphia Area Collections."

The only thing of note dodds has designed is overcharging and over-dating, like the LACMA rip-off where we all know he stole candy from a baby, and scheming to over-charge anyone who is foolish enough to fall into his orbit.

From the looks of things mast has to be one of those unfortunates, who still has not opened his peepers enough to see the dollar signs, and not pupils, embedded in dodds’s eye sockets.

Reading this is sickening and hali should be run out of rugdom, with dodds and mast in tow, for allowing this blatant hype to appear on the web or in their glossy magazine that is, as we all can see, clearly moving into a steep declining spiral.

We will forgo commenting on dodds’s sartorial splendor but his “fine appreciation of oriental rugs”?

Get off it mast, dodds is a serial lip-service abuser of rug appreciation whose only interest is selling them for as much as he can get away with.

Or have you been living in that cave in Afghanistan next to bin Laden for the past 18 months of our profiling dodds’s greed and shameless stupidity?

If you haven’t, then go prove us different, mr mast - - we double dare you, sir.

“By coincidence, on the morning of 17 January 2006, as exhibition installation began, Dr Franklin turned 300, so was present in spirit only, doubtlessly wondering whatever became of his own prized Turkish rugs.”

We doubt that highly, mast, you name dropping dodo.

Franklin was probably twisting in his grave bemoaning the fact a shyster like dodds was permitted to even enter his hallowed grounds, let alone hang an exhibition of rugs, under the guise of education, that includes a number of his own that are for sale and that he will hype and try to sell to anyone and everyone he possibly can.

Actually, we wonder if dodds didn’t try to reach into his coffin and to lift Franklin’s molding checkbook while pushing a piece of his over-dated, extravagantly priced inventory, err we mean collection, on old Ben himself.

“I wonder too.”

From what we have heard and seen, mr mast, you have a lot of other things to wonder about, like why you paid an absurdly high price for that ‘yastic’ at bozwell's.

Did dodds, your bud, advise you on that dumb as a rock purchase?

“This is the sixth guest-curated Arthur Ross exhibition devoted exclusively to weavings.

University exhibitions can be tricky to curate as they usually require theme development, scholarly content and installation that are well beyond amateurs.”

This is such outrageous backslapping garbage mast should be prevented from ever writing anything else in rugdom again.

Plus if these standards were really applied, how in God’s green earth did dodds ever get the chance to do, not only this exhibition but, a previous one on Turkmen rugs that was as bereft of scholarship and museum quality examples as this one?

And that exhibit was also salted with his inventory, whoops there we go again, collection.

Or did you forget to notice that, mr mast, as you glad-handed around a gallery filled with airheads like yourself?

And scholarly content? Phuleeze, mast, calling your recent purchase a ‘yastic’, when it is more than four feet long doesn’t impress us with scholarship? And 18th century? Ha Ha, hardy ha ha.

Get lost, mast, or learn something will ya. Should you chose the former then, please, take dodds along with you for company. You and he can pontificate and then applaud each other ad infinitum but spare us the gong show.

“This is particularly true in regard to Penn, where the great rug symbologist Schuyler V.R. Cammann taught and studied, as did George O'Bannon, and Henry Glassie did most of his important work on Turkish village weaving while a member of the illustrious Department of Folklore and Folklife.”

Hey mast, george o-bannon was nothing more than a rug world famous poster-boy poseur ignoramus -- a talker who plied his trade selling mediocre pieces but surely not doing anything substantial other than a compiling a bibliography, as the rest of his writings is only useful as toilet paper – nothing original there, my boy.

As for the other two? Glassie’s best work was on folklore not on rugs and Cammann was a noted scholar, even more so than Glassie but, like him, Cammann wasn’t much known for anything to do with rugs.

So your analogizing dodds with them is worthless but comparing him to o’bannon is worthwhile, for they were both blowhard, social climbing rug shysters – so you got one out’o three right, congrats.

“The number of Penn alumni well known in rug circles is significant, and warns that the academic audience is likely to be more critical than rug enthusiasts who visit the campus specifically to see this exhibition.”

They might be well known, just like you mr mast, but do they know anything?

“To the credit of curator Dodds, it has substance on multiple levels. Generous label text presents the hermetic findings of upper rugdom in a way understandable to anyone apt to enter the gallery, although the initial visual impact would even impress Bigfoot."

What hyperbole and are we to presume bigfoot is you, mast?

"On 1 February, Walter Denny, Professor of Art History, Adjunct Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Massachussetts[sic], and one of our leading rug scholars, lectured prior to the official opening reception.

Who would have guessed that so many of us would give social priority to a lecture titled 'From Prayer Rug to Medallion Carpet: Architectural Themes and Functions in Islamic Carpets', and realize that whenever Professor Denny lectures in proximity of so many relevant rugs, it is a fortuitous event, astonishingly well attended, as was the reception, where the general consensus was that the food was well above the usual wine and cheese spreads (hint: the primary sponsor of the exhibition and lecture was Woven Legend's George Jevremovic).”

Maybe you should try your hand at writing restaurant reviews, mast, because your inability to do anything other than hand out Homeric, totally unjustified flattery sounds like the paid advertisements that usually pass for objectivity in that arena.

“Many of the rugs (or are they now carpets?) have been previously exhibited and published, not surprising given the generally high quality of the pieces chosen.”

Surely they are high quality compared to those in your local Pakistani or Turkish going-out-of-business rug, “or is it carpet”, merchant. But the great majority are as far from museum quality as your ‘yastic’ is from the 18th century.

“The oldest piece however, is a spectacular and previously unpublished large medallion Ushak, circa 1600, the only truly classical piece in the gallery.”

Ushaks like this one are a dime a dozen in museum collections and this one is surely not a best of type by a long shot.

But of course, mast, subtleties like that are lost on those of your ilk, no matter how many hajji baba picnics you have attended or how well endowed your checkbook writing allows you to act up in the salesroom.

“Its nearest progeny is the well known Deerfield Ushak, circa 18th century, by which time much of the production of Ushak had passed to small ateliers and cottage looms, where many classical components were deconstructed, modified and re-arranged by intent or inability to replicate more complex elements. What emerged was a highly original post-classical aesthetic especially evident among the nine exhibited prayer rugs, most of which have affinities with classic court designs. Variation through time and space is demonstrated with a side-by-side comparison of two large pattern Holbein derivatives, one a West Anatolian Bergama, circa 1875, the other a Central Anatolian Aksaray a century or so older, both essentially the same design in respective regional styles.”

Did dodds help you compose this gobble-de-gook? Sure sound like his dribble -- aimed to impress but saying nothing of substance besides the most obvious and droll.

“Early Karapinars have always constituted a rare and mysterious group, and herein are three (four if you count one that has been reattributed to Cappadocia), all displaying the enigmatic 'kilim-style' and regional expression of tulip motifs, popularized[sic] by the 16th century court designer Kara Memi.

Karapinars, known for their lighter, translucent colours, often show abrash more pleasingly than in any other group of weavings, one of the incidental pleasures that await unhurried viewers.”

Clearly not only Karapinars are a mystery to mast and dodds. Perhaps both of them should, after they finish reading this, peruse our writings on Karapinars. They might learn something, should they choose to spend their time that way instead of sucking up to each other like two bums with a half-filled can of beer.

“Further insights will certainly be discussed when Henry Glassie, now at Indiana University, returns to lecture on 30 March, two days before the exhibition closes.

At this point, criticism is almost perfunctory.

With thirty-two pieces in an already tight installation, I would have deleted three or four clinkers that somehow managed to make the cut in favour of a large early Konya kilim and perhaps something in the Hotamis line.”

Maybe from your collection, one we can only imagine is airport-art filled, mr mast?

And we are sure there are more than those “three or four clinkers” you mention.

Hey, mast, we just remembered, what about all the scholarly juice that drips like water from a fountain when dodds, the great curator, curates? Where and how’d those clinkers sneak in?

Oh, we get it, must have been while he was busy trying to off one of his inventory, we mean collection, pieces in the sale, opps exhibition, right? Or were they ex-dodds inventory, sorry collection, pieces he sold and now hung there to flatter their lucky new owners?

Sorry, mast, you are full of it, go relieve yourself and don’t forget to use soap and hot water when you’re done.

“And two yastiks is too few, but as Dennis Dodds is arguably the world's leading expert on them and takes his curatorship seriously, I suspect another exhibition is in the wings.”

We almost lost our mud reading this paean to your man in “upper rugdom” aka dennis dodds.

By the way, mr mast, where is “upper rugdom”? Is it a suburb or Philadelphia or does it exist only in yours and dodds’s wet dreams?

The world’s expert on yastics? No no, he’s not even close, the only world’s expertise dodds aims for is one of over-charging and over-dating.

You need help mast, bad. Either that or you are just a paid shill for dodds.

“Give this man space.”

Here we finally agree, mast, give dodds space.

How about launching him into the vacuum of space where he can do no further harm to those who might be foolish enough to believe the absolute disgusting promotion you and hali have just attempted to foist on anyone who would read this bullshit for starters?

A paid tout could not have done better.

Author: Sue Zimmeran Sat, Apr 15th, 2006 08:04:18 PM

Well the truth doesn't have to hurt. If, for no other reason, RK should wake up and go to sleep being glad that the sharks of artdom have not yet caught scent of Near Eastern weavings. Should that happen the shit would soon extrude like angel hair pasta between every knot of every deemed worthy rug as artdom speaks in tongues about the magnificence of it all while playing a Gregorian chant as background music. Count your blessings. Rugdom is as avoidable as artdom. Really. Sue

Author: Sue Zimmerman
Sat, Apr 15th, 2006 01:05:26 PM

RK Replies:

RK wakes up an optimist and goes to sleep a pessimist.

Clearly we write here in the mornings mostly and, at that time, are in our optimistic mode and believe in miracles. By bedtime we don't see sugarplum fairies everywhere but, rather, goblins in their places.

Maybe we should start writing for RugKazbah at night?

Saving rugdom is, as Sue puts it, a long shot and mostly we agree. But we do harbor thoughts, optimistic ones at that, eventually the shit will get so thick even the most fervent dodds groupie will realize it.

Do we hope in vain? Probably


I had just enough time to turn my head and save this old keyboard from being sprayed with Aquafina when I got to your response to giving Dodds more space.

Too bad I didn't have a copy of Hali to mop up with. I guess paper towels probably work better for even that job, though, as they at least aren't Teflon coated.

I still don't see why you think rugdom can clean itself up.

From my own, thankfully, long distance view of it, and the Norman Rockwell moment picture you paint of it here, it just looks like a rotten unsalvageable tear-down candidate to me.

Isn't there enough junk floating around in space?

Wouldn't iron bars and numbered chromium orange jumpsuit wearing bad guys at the big house museum be an exhibit worth seeing?

Are there no unhappy customers or disgruntled insiders in all of rugdom's fiefdom?


Author: jc
Fri, Apr 14th, 2006 11:37:10 AM

The fact dodds has used, and is once again using, the Ross Gallery as an adjunct showroom to his gallery is despicable.

But the fact no one but RK is concerned about this is even worse.

We believe it is time for all of you ruggies to speak up and make it clear such behavior is not only an embarassment for dodds but one we all, unfortunately, share.

Getting the art world to recognize the importance of historic Near Eastern weavings is hard enough considering all the bluster and lack of scholarship that has occurred in the past.

To have a situation today where a carpet-bagging shyster like dodds gets away with pretending he is the Lord of the Carpet Ring and can do as he pleases only continues the past and makes clear to all the carpet world is nothing more than a bunch of self-promoting egoists who care only about selling their wares or trumping erroneous ideas about their collections -- most of which are nothing more than airport-art passed off as “important tribal art" -- something they surely aren't.

Time is running out and we are saddened by the realization things will not change and the current state of affairs appears to continue unabated.

Home   Buy/Sell at the Kazbah   Terms Of Service