Below is moorehouse’s letter to the editors of hali magazine.
While reading it, we were already planning how we were going to dissect it, line by line. But after finishing, we decided to first call moorehouse and pose a few what if’s to him.
But, before we could even get to numero uno, moorehouse blurted out “I didn’t put the date on the ok bash; hali did that, I’m not so stupid”.
He then quickly said he couldn’t talk at the moment and RK should call him tomorrow.
We surely plan on doing that but after we have called hali to see which end of this moorehouse tale is true or false. And according to hali moorehouse, not their editors, put the ridiculous 19/20th century date on the ok bash.
Regardless who stupidly ascribed the ok bash to 19/20th century, the rest of moorehouse’s effort comes off, at least to us, as equally moronic and, in fact, nothing more than say-nothing pontification motivated by a blatantly transparent effort to ingratiate himself with LACMA(specifically Sharon Takeda of the Costume and Textile Department(CTD)).
But in the end, whether or not RK makes mince-meat of moorehouse’s inability to actually say something about dodds’s “bellini-style” rug or his sophomoric questions concerning the ok bask, nothing will be changed.
Why? Well for starters the same reason hali magazine would even print it – revisionist history.
Anyone trying to hopelessly praise LACMA for its diligence in investigating their purchase(after the fact as is the case here), either is a moron or a revisionist.
We say moorehouse is both.
It is truly ludicrous to believe LACMA’s after the fact investigation was in any way self-motivated or induced.
Phuleeze now, had RugKazbah.com’s unrelenting criticism and investigations not turned up a myriad of facts that proved dodds as basically a thief, the persons who vetted the rug as know-nothings, the now ex-CTD curator who championed its purchase a naïve and trusting fool, and those who purchased it for LACMA mokes and suckers, no one at LACMA would have done anything.
Why should they have, as no one in rugdom, except RK, said a peep otherwise.
And still to this day, rugdom is as silent as a lamb; brain-dead, comatose, sleep walking to nowhere on this important issue.
We are sickened by the lack of confidence and consciousness rugdom has become mired in, far more than we are by dodds’s thievery. Or moorehouse’s failure to say anything cogent about the rug in question(which is after all the reason he wrote his “letter”) or his inability to rise above his personal agenda and clear sour grape motivation.
No, the problem here is nothing close to what moorehouse is trying to convince hali’s readers should be addressed – it’s not today’s taste or lack of it, nor it is the need for “communication between (LACMA’s) decision-makers".
No, it’s not these nor any of the other claptrap nonsense excuses moorehouse regurgitates; it’s rugdom that is the culprit.
Don’t believe RK?
Well, just for starters, if rugdom had any self-governance hali; dodds; pacquin and his miserably fake embroideries; franses and his bogus 16/17th century kaitag embroideries would all have been decried for their obvious falsehoods and weaknesses.
And maybe, just maybe, these efforts, had they been timely, could have possibly derailed LACMA’s getting the shaft and ending up with a bogus, late period genre reproduction “bellini” rug(forget the fact LACMA paid at least twice the price any other previous perspective buyer would have), and a brown-nosed sycophant, like moorehouse, penning a letter to the editor that is as specious in its handling of truth and fact as dodds was in pawning off on LACMA a rug that no one wanted to buy for more than 25 years.
So here’s what moorehouse wrote and hali published.
Perhaps, we will re-visit it but for now we rest our case.
Let’s Talk Turkey
Since the controversial purchase of a ‘Bellini-style’ Turkish rug by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, those who bought it on behalf of the museum have gone, and those remaining are trying, publicly and privately, to understand just what they have acquired. This letter is not an indictment of either the rug or the museum, but rather an observation of the appropriateness of this, as well as the vetting procedure, given the Costume and Textile Department’s lack of prior expertise in this area.
Let me put things into perspective. Among LACMA’s holdings, the Getty Ardabil carpet and, top a lesser extent, the Coronation Carpet, have a prominent place in rug history. To most collectors the Ardabil is wonderful, almost iconic. However, unlike a true icon it does not engender the adulation of a group of followers.
Objects that are beautiful and elusive, often difficult to acquire, but none the less attainable, fuel passion among collectors. This is not true of the LA Ardabil(or its London cousin), which can be seen as being among the antecedents of the great Persian classical weaving tradition, but are not in a style that resonates among most collectors today.
LACMA’s Turkish acquisition(along with another recently purchased Turkmen pile weaving) offered an opportunity to promote a new spirit of collecting among the local public, collectors and scholars. Ultimately, the departments lack of familiarity with oriental rugs caused many of the problems. To my knowledge there was only a limited technical examination, and not everyone vetting the rug actually saw it and should not therefore, as professionals, have offered any opinion.
In hindsight, this carpet is not so esoteric that enthusiasts, collectors and/or scholars cannot relate to the many issues surrounding its purchase. The experience will be a lesson in due diligence. However, did it satisfy the expectations of the institution, or significantly improve its holdings? Controversy is rarely ever positive, but I comment the LACMA Costume and Textile Department and the Conservation Center for their professionalism and transparency in raising the issues surrounding this carpet in a public forum, and for sharing their findings at ICOCXI in Istanbul last April. It is refreshing to see honesty and objectivity in the light of controversy. It brings the issue closer to closure and should instill confidence in the in the costume and textile curatorial staff, now headed by Sharon Takeda, and in the recently appointed Director of
Conservation, Dr Mark Gilberg.
So after all this hoopla, I find it fascinating that the latest pile weaving acquired by LACMA was not bought by the Department of Costume and Textile, but by the Islamic Department. The ok bash or Turkmen tent strut pouch illustrated here is shown, near Islamic pottery pieces, without contextual or descriptive information, displayed as if it were a flayed carcass. What is it doing there? Why was it purchased, by whom and from whom? It’s not a bad example, but oddly timed, oddly selected and oddly placed. Talk about a disparity of purposes going from an apparently rare classical rug(the Bellini-style carpet) to an esoteric 19/20th century Turkmen tribal weaving.
Museums are the repository for many of the rarest and finest examples of woven art and for that we can be thankful. If, however, rugs that do not reach this lofty level are included, but are significant to the wider rug community as a reflection of today’s taste and interest, then communication between decision-makers would seem to be prudent. We all hope that a coherent agenda and strategy will be established between LACMA departments to reflect a broader, richer cross-section of rugs and carpets that are both contextually and artistically significant.
Los Angeles, California