Home > LACMA's Questionable Rug Purchase >What To Do About This?
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Sun, Jun 3rd, 2007 01:23:10 PM
Topic: What To Do About This?

There is little doubt the "Bellini" rug dodds off-loaded on the Los Angeles County Art Museum(LACMA) is not the museum worthy "masterpiece" he claimed.

Nor is it mid-16th century as he also claimed.

In reality almost nothing dodds told the now retired curator of the Costume and Textile Department, except for the fact the rug was his and he could transfer title to it, proved to be correct and true.

This is the crux of the issue and the issue is an important one.

There is voluminous proof here on RugKazbah.com to substantiate the speciousness of dodds's sales pitch, as well as enough art historical reference to support our position the rug is circa 1750 and not circa 1550.

It is also rather obvious LACMA has realized the rug is highly questionable. Walter Denny's visit to LACMA and his examining the rug in person caused him to change his position on the dating. This brought him closer to our estimate and much farther from dodds's original claim.

So far, louise mackie and johnny thompson, the two other people who vetted the rug for the curator, have remained silent.

Unlike Denny, they have not had the courage or honesty to speak up publicly and admit their errors.

RK has little doubt after hearing Denny's recanted dating, persons unknown at LACMA decided it was high time to do the due diligence and investigations that should have been done before the purchase of dodds's "Bellini" was consummated.

This decision was a brave one because usually museum's prefer to bury their mistakes in a sub-basement rather than publicly question and investigate them.

RK and everyone, who is interested in historic oriental rugs, owes a bit of gratitude to LACMA and to the honest and forthright desire they are now expressing to really learn the truth about their purchase.

OK then, what should we all due now? This is the question and answer RK would like to address.

1. Everyone attending the icoc in Istanbul should make plans to attend Dr. Mark Gilberg's talk, which will be given during Session 12: Technical Investigations, Swissôtel Bosphorus – Geneva Room -- Saturday, April 21@12:10 – 12:35; Authenticating an Unknown Anatolian Carpet at LACMA.

2. During the audience question period after Dr. Gilberg has presented his paper RK believes some pointful and intelligent questions would be in order.

3. RK knows if the rug world will take the time to lobby LACMA, the Museum will be far more likely to understand the importance of having a real masterpiece example of Turkish Village weaving in their collection rather than dodds’s pseudo, late genre copy of one.

LACMA has a very small carpet collection but they do have two masterpieces -- the companion piece to the V&A's Ardebil carpet, as well as the fantastic ex-Getty Coronation Carpet.

The reality dodd's dud of a "Bellini" doesn't belong next to pieces like those is a given. Rugdom needs to unequivocally communicate this to LACMA, as well as the fact we all do not condone or approve of any dealer creating such an outrageous charade of a sales pitch to sell a rug -- forget the fact dodds is the icoc chairman and perhaps presently the most highly visible person in rugdom.

We will all, in the end and unless something is done, pay for dodds's greed and deception while only dodds himself has benefited.

Rugdom needs a major clean out.

This is blatantly obvious to anyone who has read even a small percentage of RugKazbah.com, which is sadly the only place information like this is publicly available.

Time is ripe for the rug world to weight in on this subject; Dr. Gilberg's appearance at the icoc is the perfect opportunity.

RK sees LACMA’s willingness to have him travel to Istanbul to attend the icoc as the best chance we all have to see this deplorable situation put right.

RK is equally sure LACMA will welcome input from anyone knowledgeable and interested in seeing appreciation for masterpiece examples of Near Eastern weaving art grow. We are even more sure of its welcome if it helps the museum not only to understand what they bought but, even more importantly, what to do about it now.

And that’s a no-brainer as far as RK is concerned – send the “Bellini” back to dodds’s basement gallery in Chestnut Hill Pa. where it belongs.

Author: jc
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Sun, Jun 3rd, 2007 01:23:10 PM

Perhaps the most disturbing and alarming aspect of this imbroglio is not the fact dennis dodds bamboozled a naive and trusting Los Angeles County Art Museum(LACMA) curator and passed off on her a mediocre dud of a rug he had been trying to sell for at least a decade with absolutely no success.

Nor is it that dodds, the president of the icoc and one of the most, if not, the highest profile American rug dealer, used blatant mistruth and lies to convince that curator the "Bellini" was from his private collection, had never been for sale, was a masterpiece of its type and, lastly, was museum-worthy.

All those statements were fallacious distortions as well as outright lies. RK has proven this and the proof remains on this discussion board for all to read and consider.

Nor was the museum curator's lack of due diligence in properly researching the acquisition or her huge error in relying on the seller, in this case dennis dodds's honesty, in presenting a factual history and assessment of the prospective purchase.

There is little doubt dodds lied thru his teeth and she naively believed his misrepresentations.

But no, as horrendous as those facts are there is another that is even worse and, actually, everything else pales in comparison to this almost unbelievable occurance -- rugdom's complete aversion to look at and properly discuss this situation.

Soon after the sale, and true to its form of supporting rug world pooh-bahs like dodds and its advertisers even when that support flies in the face of truth and reality, hali gave a big thumbs up to dodds's sale, his lies and his deceitful conduct.

We all know there are no longer any real rug experts on hali's staff but even novice collectors of Turkish rugs RK has spoken to are able to recognize dodds's "Bellini" is at best a mediocre example of the “Bellini” type.

To us it seems rather incriminating hali would try to laud dodds's sale rather than critique it with any level of truth and real expertise.

Rugdom is surely not moving up on the Art World's ladder and the “see nothing do nothing” stance hali, as well as all of rugdom save RugKazbah.com has taken will, as time goes on, become an even larger black mark and obstacle.

Self-regulation is needed in rugdom and the poster boy for that process is none other than dennis dodds and his belief a rug dealer is entitled to use any and all forms of trickery, deceit and lies to make a sale.

RK knows dodds also knows how he abused the trust and confidence LACMA’s now retired curator, dale gluckman, placed in him and don’t you all think it’s time to call dodds on this and force him to accept responsibility for his actions?

Even a conniving carpet-bagger rug dealer like dennis dodds could not possibly explain LACMA’s sending Dr. Gilberg to Istanbul to present his paper as anything but an expression of the museum’s discomfort with their purchase and their willingness to bring all the facts into the light of day.

Can rugdom claim such awareness?

Author: jc
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Fri, Jun 1st, 2007 04:56:11 PM

Well, well, true to form Dr. Gilberg's talk came and went with little or no response from rugdom.

But it is never too late, and all of us should take a few minutes to ponder why he gave it and what we all should do about this deplorable situation.

Clearly, Dr. Gilberg and the Museum's focus concerns the horrendous amount of restoration dodds's dud of a "Bellini" has suffered over the years. However, while RK believes this to be secondary to the reality the rug is a poor example of the “Bellini” type, we understand fully why the Museum has presented it as their prime concern.

We believe had the Museum known they never would have recommended their "Collector's Circle" benefactors purchase it.

RK knows for a fact dodds told the now retired ex-curator, dale gluckman, who presented the rug to the "Collector's Committee" that the rug was in excellent original condition. In fact that statement was one of dodds’s strongest selling points..

This outrageously deceitful bit of salesmanship, there were others as well, should come back to bite dodds on his posterior. And we are fairly sure that's what's coming, as those in charge of the Museum know a fact like "50% restored" is irrefutable, while opinions about how old, important or beautiful it might be are surely not positive, provable or grounds to rescind the sale.

Those questions aside, and regardless of the fact RK has proven through our art historical comparison of the dodds "Bellini" with others of the type how inferior the drawing and colors truly are, 50% restoration is 50% restoration.

The major question that now remains is what will the Museum do now that it knows at least half of the rug is not original?

RK has some ideas but, until the future unfolds, we will keep them to ourselves.

We will, however, urge all our readers to continue to discuss this matter.

And for those of you who believe, as RK does, that the rug is overly restored, not a masterpiece of the type, not museum-worthy and should be returned to dodds for those reasons, we would suggest writing a short letter to the current director of the Museum, Michael Govan, or to the curator of the Costume and Textile Department, Sharon Takeda at the following address: 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90036.

Or for those of you who prefer email we would suggest emailing talktous@lacma.org.

RK is sure the Museum will welcome any and all feedback from rugdom, especially from anyone who attended Dr. Gilberg's talk in Istanbul.

Author: Lurker Tue, Apr 24th, 2007 11:49:57 AM


Author: Lurker Mon, Apr 23rd, 2007 10:04:06 AM

So what was the outcome of the momentous lecture?

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