Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >generous jim burns?
what a joke
Sun, Jun 16th, 2019 02:08:00 PM
Topic: generous jim burns?
what a joke

This morning while searching some unrelated information we came across the website for the Henry Art Museum in Seattle, Washington and guess what we discovered?

Seems james d. (jim) burns has been “donating” rugs from his “collection” since 2001 to this museum.

After a quick bit of searching we found a list of 182 donations burns has blessed the Henry Art Museum with….too bad most, well almost all of them, are nothing but mediocre airport-art RK would be embarrassed to have in our garage to catch the oil from our car, or to put in our dog house for Fido to snooze on.

For those of you who might not know much about burns, or have just read about him in that rag hali, let RK tell you we have known burns since the early 1970’s and quite frankly have nothing good to say about him or his completely selfish and greedy style of moshing around in rugDUMB.

Like some other hi-falutin’ rug gadflies RK could mention burns is at every event, big or small, rugDUMB organizes, as well as attending almost every auction.

The only thing larger than burn’s rug-ego and self-propelled rug persona is his bogus reputation as a rug expert.

Here are just a few of the “donations” to which jim burns’s name is now indelibly attached:

Gift of James D. and Stephanie Burns; TC 2005.8-2

This is another treasure that now resides in the Henry Art Museum collection thanks to generous james d. burns.

the caption erroneously states it is a “bag face for saddle”; Gift of James D. and Stephanie Burns, TC 2005.8-1

What collector would not be proud to have donated to their local museum gifts like the two above? None we would call colleague.

Now for the real meat, at best dog-meat as far as RK is concerned, of the burns gift.

First is an over-dated boring Konya cross rug, which is not nearly 1750-1775 as the caption states but rather in our opinion circa 1850.

Gift of James D. and Stephanie Burns; TC 2009.3-16

And this is another a somewhat earlier but surely not the late 18th century date given in its caption.

Gift of James D. and Stephanie Burns; TC 2009.3-14

Let’s not forget to mention generous james d. burns gave the Henry Art Museum a Mamluk, just too bad the rug is so bereft of pile, not to mention it is a fragment, there is hardly any pattern left to see.

Same goes for a number of fragments of circa 1700 Persian rugs we honestly would not take home if they were given to us for free.

Perhaps the most interesting burns gift is this textile:

13th to 14th centry Rayy textile; Gift of James D. and Stephanie Burns; TC 2004.5-12

We say interesting only for the fact it seems neither burns nor the textile and carpet curator, if there even is one at the Henry Art Museum, knows about the more than 50 year controversy surrounding textiles allegedly excavated at Rayy, aka al-Rayy an archaeological site in Iran.

Most of the weavings claimed to be from Rayy have been shown to be modern forgeries.

And while we have studied this issue and are familiar with those textiles, as well a few others which are not fakes and were acquired at the time of the excavation and not later which is when the fakes are attributed, we cannot be positive the burns piece is in that group.

But from certain aspects of its iconography and color-scheme, plus some other criteria, we’d be surprised if burns’s turned out to be genuine.

Over the years RK has spoken with burns many times and visited his home more than several so we know of what we speak.

But since several years when big-mouth burns accused us of “quote unquote” “being a bigger thief than dennis dodds” we have taken to avoid him; something we should have done from the beginning since burns is the most selfish, greedy, stingy, conniving and competitive rug collector we have ever met.

We know a number of stories about burns, one his getting a prone to drink collector smashed-drunk and then bamboozling a rare and valuable Caucasian embroidery from him for a pittance.

Not only is burns about as rug-underhanded as one can be and still stay on the right side of the law but he is, besides for knowing something about 19th century Persian urban rugs, a rug ignorant as far as RK is concerned.

Another great tale in burns’s rug reputation concerns a star kazak in the collection of another pair of rug gadflies known as mitchell and rosalie rudnick.

Seems burns declared their star kazak, which had recently purchased for an alleged 225,000 dollars, a “fake”.

This declaration was done in public to the complete astonishment and dismay of the rudnicks, who had formerly looked up to and worshiped burns as a rug-god.

But when the dust finally settled, it turned out the star kazak was not a “fake” but rather an almost completely rewoven creation done on an old foundation.

When burns assailed RK for being “ a bigger thief than dodds” we, in no uncertain terms, told burns he was nothing but a turko-ignorant, a liar and a full of crapola clown.

By the way, the OkBash that was the subject of burns’s stupid comments is now in the most important art museum on the west coast and surely is not the 20th century piece of junk “Afgan” weaving burns claimed it was.

OkBash, circa 1800 or earlier, formerly in RK's collection

But burns was not alone in his dumbass comments as one brian moorehouse, another rugDUMB four-flusher but surely not one in the class of supremo A-hole james d. burns, published a letter to the editor in that rag hali making the same ridiculous accusations.

No, no burns’s reputation in rugDUMB is as bloated and bogus as dennis dodds’s, and now that burns has “donated” a raft of miserably mediocre airport-art to Seattle’s Art Museum he has sealed his fate and bona fide our opinion in spades.

By the way there is not one masterpiece among the 182 rugs burns has donated over the past decade.

Nor in our opinion is there one museum worthy weaving.

We’d love to know the details of how much tax deduction burns has taken for giving this drek to the Henry.

Perhaps when time permits we will delve into the details, as all tax-deductible donations to public institutions leave a record.

Here is the URL for the Henry Art Museum’s website were you can see the 182 weaving generous james d. burns donated:


In conclusion we must say we will not be surprised if burns, now that we have shed the light of truth on his machinations, will claim he intends to donate the rest of his collection to the Henry over the coming years, or on his demise.

Big freakin’ deal we’d counter as no rug or group of rugs he will donate could change the fact every one of the 182 he has already given are either worthless airport-art, crappy often over-dated examples of boring common 19th century types, or skinned barely visible fragments of pre-1800 rugs no auctioneer would accept for sale other than at bottom-basement prices.

PS: it’s no wonder burns’s magnanimous gifts to the Henry Art Museum have not been heralded in rugDUMB, as even an egoist rug-dummy like james d. burns knows what he has done is not only non-commendable, it’s down-right shameful.

PPSS: And even if generous james d. burns took no tax-donations, which we sincerely doubt, giving up 182 rugs like those is a senseless gesture, one we’d bet ranks high in the top ten of garbage donations any American museum has ever received.

Author: Milton
Sun, Jun 16th, 2019 02:08:00 PM

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Author: jc
Mon, Feb 14th, 2011 01:26:11 AM

RK has received two emails from ruggies who claim we are unfair and deprecating jim burns for his generous gift.

To such nonsense we say PHOOEY, as the rugs burns gave are not anything one could call museum-quality.

Fact is they are as we claim, airport-art and boring late copies along with a few clapped-out ugly fragments of earlier types.

Generosity and being generous can be looked at in many ways, but when someone's "generosity" is aimed at mostly benefiting themselves RK has trouble believing it. And that is surely the case with burns and his miserly "gift" of cast-off garbage rugs to the Henry Art Museum.

An interesting story about John D Rockefeller might illustrate our point: When Rockefeller was the "richest" man in America with a fortune that was, in those days, larger than anyone like bill gates today, John D. would, on every Christmas Day, get his driver to take him down Fifth Ave and stop on every other corner.

He would then step out of his limo, stand on the running board, and hand out shiny dimes to those who gathered around.

Now in those days a dime was equal to probably 2.50$ in today's money but so what?

Was Rockefeller generous?

RK would have to say hell no and just like a miser of burns's ilk what he did was more self-serving to make him feel generous.

Generosity, and true generosity, is far more than giving away dimes or cast-off crapola rugs, and RK is sure even a self-possessed greedy rug-conniver like burns or a corporate raider and monopolist like a Rockefeller knew their "generosity" was far from what it's all about.

Author: the beast
Thu, Feb 3rd, 2011 01:59:32 PM

How's the weather in Berkeley today, anonymouse?

Actually, we are surprised you had the time to peck out such an informative message, being that you must be getting ready for the big capri motel roach hunt, huh?

Anyway, tho we expect this will be a non sequitur: How about instead of throwing unnamed and unqualified dispersion on what we wrote go and disprove our statements.

And by the way if clowns like you, your worthlessly undefined criticism not to mention unproven belief you are an "expert", are what "tapetology" is all about you prove in spades our calling it rugDUMB.

Go put that in your pipe and light it, schmucko


Ah once again you demonstrate your misguided, nay indeed twisted approach ,bto tapetology. Do something and quit your flapjaw ways Bucko. O.ver and out, Another rug expert

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