The sad and regrettable story of the 'problems' at the G.H. Meyer’s Textile Museum
Even though RK does not wish to spend our time writing here we cannot sit quietly by and watch what is happening in Washington D.C.’s textile museum.
The fiasco of acor’s cancellation prodded us to post BULLETIN #1, and now after debating whether or not we should also comment on the sad and regrettable goings on at the textile museum(tm) we finally decided we could not and should not remain silent.
As many of you know the tm has a lot of problems, however, the only one that has publicly surfaced is their alleged “ dire financial situation”. And while RK knows a bit about this particular difficulty, in fact, the remedies that have been so far attempted are, in our opinion, worthless and foolish attempts that only address the symptom while leaving their causes to fester and grow.
Approximately four years ago a rug collector and “oil man” called bruce baganz became the chairman of the museum’s board. Since assuming that post baganz has championed two ideas RK has believed from the get-go were nothing but hubristic and stupid attempts to solve the tm’s most obvious problems – its insecure financial situation and its need for a new director, after the last one left under somewhat cloudy circumstances.
And while RK is not privy to what goes on behind the closed doors of the board room meetings baganz has chaired, it is easy for us to opine that nothing has gone on there other than bickering and pomposity.
But regardless of that reality baganz and his board have absolutely nothing to show for the time they have spent meeting behind those closed doors.
So dear and interested readers, let RK now discuss those two issues – putting the tm on firmer ground financially and the appointing of a new director.
The first and foremost issue baganz has squawked about, and often done so publicly and privately, is the financial woes the museum is mired in.
Frankly, the cockamamie solution baganz forwarded and then worked on was to have had the museum rent-a-space that became available on the Mall, in D.C.
His justification for this rather off-the wall solution was to make the museum and its collections more “accessible” to the “public”.
While this might sound good on paper, and might have increased the revenues the admissions and new coffee and book shoppes could have added to the museum’s coffers, it was, again in our opinion, a dumbass conceited solution that could never have added anything of value to the tm.
Nor could it have done much for the museum’s bottom line, which was after all the reason for it in the first place.
RK doesn’t have the energy or the desire to flesh out all the negatives to baganz’s plan but let us just enumerate several.
1. The tm already has ‘exhibition space’ and while it is not on the Mall it is only a short distance from there. And as far as RK is concerned the space baganz was planning on renting was nowhere as classy and elegant as what the museum already has, regardless of what ever ‘decorating’ would have been done to dress it up.
2. To pay for this new space baganz believed he could get the money from “sources” in the Persian Gulf, particularly the emir of Doha. However, when he learned there were going to be some pretty strong caveats of wants attached to that planned largesse, and of course the world economic situation reared it ugly head and disrupted baganz’s ill-conceived plan as well, the idea of a Mall space for the tm evaporated like a snowball in a pizza oven.
Honestly, if baganz is the successful oil man he claims to be we would have to put his successes down to luck rather than to a brilliant mind, for as we said this plan was seriously flawed and naïve from the beginning.
The other, and only visible, ‘work’ baganz and the board he chairs has done was to appoint dan walker, aka do nothing dan as we have called him to his face privately, publicly and in print, to the director’s position of the tm
RK had a number of telephone conversations with baganz before he gave dan the nod and during those numerous calls one of the topics he discussed over and over was baganz’s desire to appoint someone who could “turn things around” at the museum.
“I want a new broom” bangaz said more than once to RK “…someone who can sweep the floor clean floor” was also part of the mantra baganz repeated to us.
Well, quite honestly, when we found out do nothing dan had gotten the job, and mind you this was soon after one of those calls where baganz again mentioned his “new broom” chant, not only was RK surprised and frankly nauseated to learn who had been given the post but we knew then and there baganz was not part of any solution – he was part of the problem.
Talk is cheap and so far all baganz, and the rest of the stuffed shirt rug nincompoops on the tm board, have done proves how cheap and worthless their words are.
The tm has a great collection thanks to the energy and brilliance its founder G.H. Meyers showed as a collector of weavings. But regrettably the pompous rug idiots who have been in charge there for decades have, like baganz and walker, done nothing of note other than advance the in-group old boy’s club the museum has become.
A far better, more realistic and tenable solution to the tm’s problems would be to first get some real brains on the board and face facts.
1. The tm should pare down the public activities it sponsors within its walls so that the monies spent on its over ambitions, and mostly wasteful and stupid projects, could be used to put the museum on a more secure financial basis.
2. Instead of trying to remake the museum into a ‘powerhouse’ institution, a la baganz’s big mouth plans, the museum should work with other museums that already are powerhouse institutions to provide expertise and materials for carpet and textile exhibitions that would be shown in those institutions where great exhibition facilities already exist.
3. Make the tm a center for carpet and textile studies.
While this is the only area where there is an existing reality to the tm mission statement, and one that was at one time notable, presently they haven’t been, especially if those efforts of the past two decades are compared to what another institution – the Abegg foundation in Switzerland – has accomplished. Anyone with open eyes can readily see how inferior the tm’s efforts really are, nuff said.
And speaking of dan walker, RK has learned from several sources, and from the horse’s mouth directly when we spoke to him, that do nothing dan’s contract will NOT be renewed and he is out the door in about a year’s time when his employment agreement ends.
This is really good news because dan has not only earned the do nothing moniker we have indelibly hug around his neck from his past performance before getting his butt into the director’s chair at the tm but also during his soon to be ended 5 year tenure there as well.
But doing nothing is far better than doing something stupid and RK must say allowing barry, aka blurry, oCONnell to give a “talk” at the tm several weeks ago surely demonstrates walker’s culpability.
This has also earned him, as far as RK is concerned, the right to be now referred by us as dan, the rug-dunce, walker.
By the way for those of you who are unfamiliar with barry oconnell we suggest you put his name into RugKazbah’s search engine and you will learn who and what this rug poseur and know-nothing is all about.
Let us just mention oCONnell burst on the rug scene by peddling rugs on EBAY.
Most, if not almost all, of those were taken on consignment from trusting dealers and then sold to the unsuspecting audience EBAY is often famous for being able to dredge up.
Surely the weavings oconnell peddled were airport art at best and while there is no embarrassment or humiliation in selling pedestrian wares of the ilk oconnell was peddling, it is criminal to do it in the manner he eventually came to perpetrate.
Fact is at a point oconnell stopped paying his consigners and then stopped shipping the weavings to the customers who had sent him money to buy them.
That’s theft in anyone’s book and soon enough his dishonesty caught up with him and oconnell had to run away from his home to keep from getting his butt forceably placed in a sling at the hands off pissed off suppliers and customers.
According to his own admissions oconnell then found God and supposedly repaid some of the more threatening and vocal folks he stole from.
EBAY barred him from ever selling on their site and that’s when oconnell started to carve out a self-professed reputation as a rug expert and “industry leader” both of which, in fact, he cannot honestly claim.
RK always says:
Once a thief, always a thief
and while oconnell is not stealing money from anyone presently, he is presenting himself dishonestly and falsely, which is after all just theft on another level.
But back to dan, the dunce, walker and oconnell’s day in the sun at the tm.
According to his own words published in a bio he authored, and that appears on an internet website called ‘rugrag.com’ which is quite aptly named in our opinion, oconnell states he
“ agreed to speak at the Textile Museum after saying no since the late 1990s. This year (ed. 2008) Wendel Swan asked and I find it almost impossible to say no to Wendel.”
Whether or not this is true we don’t know. But if it is, the only thing it demonstrates is the dire academic straights, besides their financial ones, the tm is sinking in, and if it is not, it just further proves what a dishonest miscreant and lying self-promoter oconnell truly is.
But let's let RK give oconnell the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Sorry but we cannot as readily, or honestly, give windel, aka the swindle, swan such leeway.
Yesshhh we know it is patently obvious wendle is not a brilliant rug scholar or collector but even someone of his middlin’ rug intellect should be able to see what a fool and rug-numbskull a jerk like oconnell is. And considering oconnell’s thieving history the only way someone of his character should be entering the museum is as a volunteer cleaning man and wastebasket emptier.
RK is positive G.H. Meyers is still twisting in his grave seeing schmucks like swan and oconnell even standing on the doorsteps of his former home on K Street in D.C., that now houses the tm, let alone seeing them within its formerly hallowed halls.
But as sickening the fact a rug-moron, neophyte and upstart like oconnell could talk there to any audience is the subject of his presentation: “Classifying Caucasian Rugs on the basis of the language of the weaver”.
Good golly gosh this is the most stupid, inane and ridiculously titled rug talk that RK has ever heard of and if anyone can demonstrate a more dumbass one we will be glad to eat our hat.
Even more egregious than allowing a rug-fool like oconnell to talk was the introduction dan, the dunce, gave him as an introduction.
Saying oconnell had "100 websites" and that his ideas about rugs are “interesting” was as stupid and specious as oconnell's talk, but while it is clear oconnell knows next to nothing about anything to do with antique Oriental rugs, we will conceded walker does know enough to have been able to ascertain oconnell is nothing but a rug idiot.
Sadly for walker’s claim to being a rug expert was his saying oconnell’s ideas are “interesting” and that oconnell has “made a contribution to the field”.
Both of these claims should make anyone with a rug-brain question do nothing dan walker’s over blown reputation, as well as exactly what does dan, the rug-dunce, walker really know?
RK could go on demonstrating and backing up the derogatory, but 100 percent factual, statements we have made about a clown like oconnell and a functionary place-holder like walker.
But why bother, as we have already proven here and elsewhere the truth behind our assertions.
Should any reader doubt our claims we suggest putting their names into our search engine and doing some addition reading.
By the way baganz and walker have a lot company at the tm where a number of other poseur, stuffed shirts parade rug ignorance on their chests like red badges of courage.
Let’s just mention a few:
wendle swan, who will never outgrow the go-fer status he was relegated to within the tm’s hierarchy until his old masters, like McMullan, Jones, Yohe, Boucher, etc, took dirt naps and left the planet.
By the way both Joe McMullan and McCoy Jones were head and shoulders above jokers like the other two ‘gentlemen’ we mentioned but even those two stand miles above a howdy-doody cartoon character like swan.
Let us also mention we have heard rumors swan has bilked and bamboozled excellent rugs from a number of aged tm members and their descendants for cheap prices and were wendle, or swindle as he is often called, important or interesting enough to warrant our time we would attempt to prove or disprove those rumors – lucky for swindle he interests us about as much as eating a dirt sandwich would.
Another rug poseur of wendle’s ilk is hot-air harry kesheshian, who has been lauded ad nauseum and falsely in RK’s opinon by the tm for decades.
Considering hot air harry is and was always quite well to do, born into the rug business and collecting for 50 years, his ‘collection’ naturally has a few star pieces.
However, the majority are nothing but mediocre examples that compare poorly to other better examples of their types, forget about the best of those types, as well as goodly number of near misses on any level and others RK would characterize as airport-art embarrassments.
What should be noted and added to this, and something that even surpasses the less than stellar quality of hot air harry’s ‘collection’, is his abysmal lack of knowledge about antique oriental rugs beyond knowing how to talk the talk to the trusting customers who stumble into his shoppe and to dumbass jerks, like oconnell who sit at his knee slurping up his soppy talk like it was vintage French champagne served in Roman crystal goblets.
Like many old time, and old school, dealers kesheshian is nothing but a pompous, paranoid rug fool masquerading as an expurt. And let RK mention we are not the first person to voice such an opinion.
Another person the tm has lauded and counts as a luminary is dennis, the liar and thief, dodds.
RK has ‘known’ and watched dodds since the mid-70’s and to say the absurdity of his rugDUMB reputation rivals and surpasses kesheshian and walker’s and, as impossible as that sounds, it is true.
The fact dodds defrauded and cheated the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the disgusting crown on a 30 year career of overcharging and bamboozling naïve and trusting rug collectors.
Even more astonishing than dodds’s thieving ways is the fact they make oconnell into the petty thief he is.
And dodds’s reputation as a rug-scholar makes kesheshian’s and other rug poseurs like walker, jon thompson and the formerly ubiquitous robert pinner look well deserved.
There are a number of other highly regarded names we could sully with the truth but, again, why should we bother – it would just be overkill and a further waste of time RK can put to far better use.
In closing we must reiterate there’s a lot wrong with rugDUMB that make the problems at the tm, and the complete failure of the misguided and misplaced solutions bruce baganz has advanced, pale in comparison.
After all is said and done the tm will survive baganz and walker because the tm has a great and imposing building, magnificent collections and a history, prior to the part 20 years, of presenting and sponsoring genuinely significant contributions to the knowledge base of historic and antique oriental carpets.
RK can only hope the morass of stupidity, self-serving bullshit the museum is now swimming in will soon be traversed and once more G.H. Meyer’s Textile Museum can reassume the leading place it once held.
In closing let RK add this will never happen until
1. the back-slapping self-promotion of folks like kesheshian, dodds and others is halted;
2. until those, like baganz and walker, who are presently in charge of charting the museum’s future are shown the door;
3. and lastly not until rugDUMB becomes honest and forthright enough to rid itself of carpet-bagging creeps and self-servers like dodds;
4. as well as to properly categorize the mediocrity that alleged scholars like jon thompson and michael franses pass off as scholarship, forget about a not even paper-trained rug-puppy like oconnell
and finally not until that clean sweeping broom bruce baganz talked about but surely was incapable of even lifting let alone wielding does its thing and cleans out the dusty, musty, festering mess that RK claims characterizes the tm as well as rugDUMB in general.