Today RK learned the textile museum in Washington DC has awarded its George Hewitt Myers award to michael franses.
This decision follows in the footsteps of awarding this “accolade” to jon thompson and others whose accomplishments in rugDUMB need to be put into perspective, something few people are able to do on account of either vested interest, personal attachment or ignorance.
However since RK has no vested interests and no personal attachments in rugDUMB, we are probably the only person able to shed some light of fact and truth to the fluff and puff in the following “press release” the textile museum has published concerning their latest award receipient.
Before we wade into the misleading history of mr franses's ‘career’ in rugDUMB, RK needs to make clear what our reason(s) for publishing this examination truly are.
1. RK is presently, and has always been, an outsider to the hierarchy that controls the public perception of antique oriental rug collecting – we have never joined any associated organization, institution, museum or private group.
2. Nor has RK ever pandered to seek the support of any of these concerns to further our interests in historic weaving.
3. We have reluctantly assumed the position of rugDUMB’s truth disseminator ONLY after witnessing no one else had either the courage or knowledge to do so.
4. We realize what we have written, and continue to write here on RugKazbah.com, is unappreciated by most in rugDUMB because they are either too stupid to discern our truth from the fantasy a press release like the one below demonstrates or what we say conflicts, and negates, their own personal interests and beliefs, which are equally as prone to error.
Only a jaundiced observer could believe franses has made no contribution and that is definitely not where RK is coming from, not at all.
Yet, that said, anyone who really knows about franses, his failures and machinations in rugDUMB, could not possibly entertain swallowing and believing what is written below.
RK first met franses in 1974 and was quite involved with him until 1980 when our relations began to sour but they did continued on a much reduced level until 1984 when, at RK behest, we ended all contact with him.
Elsewhere on RugKzbah.com we have published an abbreviated explanation of our ‘relationship’ with franses and it does not need to be reviewed here once again.
What does need to be reviewed is the actual history of mr franses’s ‘career’ in rugDUMB to set the record straight after the stilted and selective one presented in the textile museum’s press release.
It is this reason, and this reason only, that has motivated RK to publish our comments, which will appear in bold type below.
And by the way for those RK bashers who are now thinking RK is jealous or suffering from sour grapes please note: RK will NEVER accept any award from any rugDUMB organization until we see change in the status quo of protecting and honoring shills and liars, like a dennis dodds, or poseurs, opportunists and charlatans like a jon thompson or michael franses.
Those are tough words, but they are words RK has proven are true just like we have proven ourself to be above the greed and stupidity that has become ever more present in this art-field.
So without further ado here is the complete press release published July 19, 2010 on the textile museum website.
“Michael Franses to Receive The TM’s 2010 George Hewitt Myers Award
The Textile Museum announced today that Michael Franses, renowned textile publisher and scholar, has been chosen as the 2010 recipient of the museum’s George Hewitt Myers Award, one of the highest accolades in the field of textile arts.”
Renowned? Well, maybe in many circles of rugDUMB, but surely not in others, and as far as outside rugDUMB the name michael franses is no more renowned than many others including RK.
As for scholar? Well, again, those same circles might believe michael, aka mr footnote, franses might kick some shit but in others he is seen for exactly what he is, and that’s why RK added the title mr footnote to others, like little lord, which we have christened him with. But more about this later.
And calling the Meyer’s award one of the highest accolades rings rather hollow considering dennis the thief dodds, and jon the con thompson have also been so anointed, not to mention other recipients have, through their financial donations to the textile museum, figuratively and actually bought their Meyer’s award.
“ The Myers Award, named for The Textile Museum’s founder and given by the Board of Trustees, recognizes Franses’ lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the field of textile arts. Previous recipients include researcher Mattiebelle Gittinger (2009); scholar Jon Thompson (2008); collector and philanthropist Lloyd Cotsen (2007); the late Josephine Powell, an ethnographer and photographer (2006); and textile designer and collector Jack Lenor Larsen (2005).
Franses will be honored with the Myers Award at an event held at the Residence of the Turkish Embassy on Thursday, October 14, 2010.
“Perhaps no one else alive today has accomplished more for the field of Oriental carpets and textiles than Michael Franses,” said Bruce P. Baganz, president of The Textile Museum Board of Trustees."
RK has christened bruce baganz big-mouth bruce and this flattering statement, and the one below, surely exemplify why.
“Through his scholarship, publications and exhibitions, Mr. Franses has demonstrated his commitment to educating a wider audience about the textile arts—an effort closely aligned to the mission of The Textile Museum.”
Frankly, and trust us we know a lot about franses, from both what the public knows as well as from behind the scene, we’d question what in fact franses has ever done that was not either directly or indirectly self-serving.
Unlike Josephine Powell, the only recipient of the Meyer’s award named in this press release who could factually be so described, franses ain’t no Mother Theresa and big-mouth bruce should either shut his yap or go do some serious thinking about what he says before he does open it and immediately sound like the hypester and clown we accuse him of being.
“Upon receiving the award announcement, Michael Franses commented, “In 1967, soon after I started to build my carpet and textile library and photo archive, I became aware of The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. through its Journal and numerous other outstanding publications.
I first visited the Textile Museum in 1973 and was immediately smitten. The kind of textiles that [Textile Museum founder] George Hewitt Myers collected, in particular classical Persian, Spanish and Chinese carpets, were in my opinion then, and still remain today, at the aesthetic pinnacle of textile art.
This statement reveals the disingenuousness RK has repeatedly accused little lord franses of mouthing, for what about all the small-scale society, aka "tribal", pieces Meyer’s collected?
If the truth be known one of the great strengths of George Hewitt Meyer’s collection is in these non-classical pieces and franses failure to mention, respect and honor them is far more than disingenuous, it is embarrassing.
While franses morphed himself, just like jon the con thompson did, from non-classical rug dealer in his case, and collector in thompson’s, to big-money classical rug pseudo-honcho, this is where they both started off.
And this is where the mythos of franses the great scholar unravels and falls apart.
More about this later./b>
“The more I study what Myers collected, the more I rank him as probably the greatest collector and connoisseur of historical carpets ever. Even before my first visit to Washington, I had named my business The Textile Gallery, so that I might modestly attempt to follow in his footsteps.”
Modesty is, and has never been, franses’s middle name and why he should now try to appear so is absurd.
So is his trying to rewrite his own history.
Fact remains, well before franses setup the textile gallery business he worked for Hugh Moss, a gallery in the most fashionable business district of London, where franses sold rugs he had picked-up as the itinerant rug-picker he had been prior to working for Moss.
It’s easy to understand why franses wants to forget about this part of his life when he made his first efforts at publishing, as a catalog like “The world of rugs. Hugh Moss Gallery. 1973, $15.00” evidences.
Another bit of history the press release and franses as well avoids mentioning is the fact franses has little formal education, having left school before even graduating from public school, what in America is called “high school”.
And while there is surely no shame in having done so, and gone to work for his father who was a traveling rug dealer, here surely it is shameful to pretend this is not the case.
“Now, at the end of my business career, as I embark upon full-time carpet and textile research in my ‘retirement,’ to be honored with the George Hewitt Myers Award is the greatest recognition I could ever have received.”
Maybe so but again since franses has built his reputation in rugDUMB as an alleged ‘scholar’, and not a dealer, will he now really do some research?
This rings hollow as it is similar to the statement dan, aka do nothing, walker made as he was kicked in the butt by the textile museum's front door after being fired several years ago by the textile museum board of directors.
RK is not very interested in ‘classical carpets’ and since this is the arena franses has been for the past 20 years researching and writing about RK has not turned our attentions to critiquing what he has done.
We have, though, demonstrated repeatedly over the course of our writing on RugKazbah.com how questionably deficient, and self-promoting, franses efforts prior to his changing from ‘tribal’ textile dealer to ‘classical carpet’ dealer were and still are.
This is the real weak link in the chain and one which franses can not deny or gloss glibly over, same with jon the con thompson.
More about this, keep reading.
“About Michael Franses
Michael Franses is the author and publisher of numerous books and periodicals related to the textile arts as well as co-founder of several textile-related organizations. ”
Ok, this is true on the surface but, in fact, almost everything franses has ever done in rugDUMB was done to further himself socially and to make money – we defy anyone to prove different.
And while again there is nothing wrong with this, it is duplicitous to make it appear franses did something for nothing – he has done nothing for nothing and only to benefit himself.
Again, this press release makes it seem like franses is a deep scholar, and great publisher of many books --something that is about as true as the tooth fairy.
Keep reading and we will explain.
“For more than 40 years he has built major private and institutional collections worldwide as a dealer and advisor and organized exhibitions for galleries, museums and private collectors.”
Please now cut the shit, forty years ago, 1970, franses was sitting in a car and driving around in the English country-side buying Mahals, Sarouks and the occasional Caucasian, Turkmen or Turkish rug.
This is a fact and it was not until sometime in the late 1990’s that such hi-fallutin’ statements could be associated with him.
RK knows, for we were on franses’s scene and we are not alone, however, as we wrote above others who know this are silent for the reasons we enumerated.
RK also knew franses's father Robert quite well.
He, Robert Franses, was a wonderful kind and gentle man whose friendship we were glad to have made. Too bad the apple fell far from that tree, as michael franses, unlike his father who was anything but a pompous poseur, is nothing but an uneducated, envious and invidious jerk who, again unlike his father was, is ashamed of his past and tries in every which way to cover-it-up and pretend it never existed.
Fact also is, during this period 1970’s – late 1990’s, franses had only several real clients besides the dealers, like Eberhart Herrmann, he was working with.
The best of them was Marino Dall’Oglio, of Wher collection fame, and from what we know about that relationship, much of it directly from franses himself, franses was more of a go-fer than expert for Dall’Oglio.
Well does RK remember franses telling us how he often bought pieces at auction for Dall’Oglio for no commission or remuneration, only so he, franses, could look like a big man in rugDUMB spending someone else's money.
Other times, franses told us, he got small profit when he sold pieces he had found in the country-side, or on his travels outside England, to Dall’Oglio.
Another of his few private clients was robert pinner and his wife Leslie, who was, as RK has written before, the real collector, as robert in those days was only the checkbook who paid for the pieces – Leslie was the brains of the collection.
So anyone who might be gullible to believe franses has been for forty years as described in the press release needs to adjust such a ridiculous notion.
That’s it for today but stay tuned for part two of RK examines franses and the textile museum press release.