Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >Milestones: Tabibnia-thompson Epilogue
Author:jc
email:
Tue, Sep 24th, 2013 08:28:18 PM
Topic: Milestones: Tabibnia-thompson Epilogue

Soon after we posted the conclusions to our “Milestones” review, a frequent reader emailed us and inquired if we had ever read the “review” alan marcuson had published about the “Milestones” exhibition in that rag hali and on his website.

We emailed back that yes we knew of it and had read it at the time but had forgotten about it while we were writing the “Milestones” review.

After re-reading marcson’s saccharine sweet and glowingly brown-nosed commentary we were, of course, reminded how those in RugDumb will never say anything critical of those who are high up in its hierarchy.

Even someone like an alan marcuson, who through unbridled hubris, greed and stupidity finally self-immolated, burning his rug-“career” to a crisp in the fireball that was www.cloudband.com.

The review our reader re-alerted us to was published in 2006 and, below we quote and include our comments for a few of the “gems” mr marcuson scribbled.

Glorious Survivors

As I walked around the gallery it had the aspect of being on pilgrimage to a shrine, to pay homage to glorious survivors from the distant past. It was thrilling to see pieces normally only found in a museum. “This is better than a museum, You can touch them,” said Louise Mackie, Curator of Textiles and Islamic Art at The Cleveland Museum with a wry smile. “But only with the back of your fingers which don’t have sweat glands,” Dr. Jon Thompson reminded us.

Clearly, marcuson has never made a pilgrimage to anywhere other than the imaginary shrine where he believes, he and his disaster-filled rug career, belong.

Yesshhh, we, too, visited Moshe Tabibnia’s gallery in 2006 when the exhibition was up, though not during the opening-night mr marcuson described. And, while we again say we respect Tabibnia’s “Milestone” efforts, they surely cannot in any real sense be described as creating a “shrine” on via Brera in Milan.

And whereof can anyone, even a rug-sycophant like marcuson, cite and quote louise mackie, who it must be remembered was one of the three rug-idiots who approved the purchase of the dennis dodds’ bogus-bellini rug for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, saying Tabibnia’s gallery was better than a museum?

And speaking of dr jon thompson’s “sweat-glands” remark……

Oh well: Then there’s

The one small disappointment of the evening was that the catalogue of the collection was not ready for the show’s opening and there was only a single digitally produced sample available. More of a monograph than a simple catalogue, it includes an in-depth study of the collection by Jon Thompson. It is quite some time since we have seen Thompson in print in a sustained discussion about carpets and having read a fair portion of his excellent text, I am sure it will provide rugdom with much to discuss and digest.

Well, marcuson, you hyperbolist ,it has been five years since the “Milestones” catalog and your review have been out and where, might RK ask, has this much to be discussed and digested action occurred?

Again, RK can only point to the imaginary place somewhere under your hairline, huh?

The exhibition is a magnificent triumph of a show, with some 30 rugs, from the 15th to the 17th centuries, from Anatolia, Syria, Egypt, Persia, the Caucasus (perhaps), India and China. I cannot overemphasise(sic) the consistently high quality of the pieces in the exhibition. Not a poor choice among them. Not all were to my particular taste…

Sure, sure, judged by normal standards of rug-dealer exhibitions the “Milestones” collection might be called a “magnificent triumph” but RK is again reminded of what a milestone actually is and finds marcuson’s glowing praise considerably OTT, ie over-the-top, overblown and overdone.

RK will agree there is not a “poor” choice among them, especially if the use of poor has any correlation with the prices Mr Tabibnia expects to receive for allowing any of his magnificent 30 to leave his gallery stash.

And, please dear readers, do not think we ever implied there was a poor choice among them – get it straight, our position is a number of examples are far less than milestone importance and quality.

We agree with marcuson the Brunk/Foy-Casper carpet(Plate 26) is a “delicious synthesis” of Ottoman and Anatolian village rug production. But we do not buy his referring to the large-pattern Holbein (Plate 1) as “It’s like the monolith in Kubrick’s, 2001: A Space Odyssey…”.

Frankly, we’d prefer to own the Berlin Museum example, which is in our opinion a far more important and interesting weaving.

But likes are subjective and mr marcuson is surely entitled to his opinions, even when he presents them as gospel “from his mouth to God’s ears”.

In that vein rings the final line in marcuson’s closing salvo in discussing the “Milestones” show

It was one of those key moments, a milestone no less, that changes a field forever

Oh yeah… And, please mr marcuson or anyone else, clue RK in on how the rug collecting “field” has been changed…or has RK missed it after having been sequestered in that proverbial ‘cave in Afghanistan’ these past five years with Osama you know who?

Author: jc
email:
Tue, Sep 24th, 2013 08:28:18 PM

(ed. the following has also been posted in the "Book Reviews" topic area)

It's interesting to note the similarities between how rugDUMB ostensibly perceived Tabibnia's Milestones publication and the sale of the Clark sickle-leaf carpet.

Both events were heralded as "changing the field".

Note please these pronouncements were made exclusively by those who stood to benefit. We did not read one independent review, and there were many of the sickle-leaf sale and basically none of Tabibnia's publication, that included any such language or thought.

It is now months after the sickle-leaf carpet's sale and years since the Milestones book's release. Has the field of collecting oriental rugs, or appreciating them, changed?

Of course the answer is No.

RugDUMB is prone to many frailties, the worst self-deception and delusion.

Even worse, on the other side, hubris and an over-inflated interpretation of its puny abilities to create interest outside those who are already believers and participants.

Someone like alan marcuson typifies these traits, his career a poster boy demonstration of the failure to create the necessary base on which genuine "field changing" events can be built.

And that necessary base is museum exhibitions. Not more of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's type of rugs of the kings -- this has already been done umpteen times and the lay public, joe and jane smith, have already ' been there, done that'.

Our field needs museums to exhibit the masterpiece mysterious, fascinating and captivating rugs, kelim and soumak of Anatolia, Turkmenistan and the Caucasus with the same academic gusto and reverence bestowed on the classical rugs of Safavid Persia and Ottoman Turkey.

This, and only this, has the possibility to 'change the field'.

But to do it requires real work and real research, both historic, ethnographic and scientific; action which so far has proven impossible to initiate.

The result of this inaction and in fact the present absolute avoidance in the museum world is the sorrowful state this field has been, and is, mired in. Plus it looks like the future will, alas, be more of the same.

So until the next bogus 'field changing' event is triumphantly proclaimed on monday and forgotten by all by tuesday morning let RK remind you who is to blame.

Take a look in the mirror and you will see the culprit.

Trusting your leaders, the michael franses, the dennis dodds, the hali magazines; your museum people, the Walter Dennys, the dr jon thompsons, the louise mackies, the cathy cootners; your top dealers the Ebberhart Hermanns, the Moshe Tabibnias etc, etc to do the heavy lifting for you has obviously been a poor choice.

Get off your chairs and realize the greatest gains made in our field have been done not by these 'names' but by others of far less acclaimed stature who have published ground-breaking books and built impressive collections.

Time's wasting' for this generation of oriental rug believers, collectors and appreciators to finally make a mark and break through the glass-ceiling in the museum world which has prevented the masterpiece indigenous town, village and clan weavings from joining their city and royal atelier brothers on the esteemed walls of first tier institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the more numerous second tier ones in America, Europe and now the Middle East.

Author: jc
email:
Thu, Dec 13th, 2012 02:31:08 PM

RK recently visited Moshe Tabibnia in his impressive gallery, and as usual we argued about things far more than we agreed.

We are surely sitting in different pews, separated by an extremely wide aisle, and though people would say we are in the same church RK would have to disagree.

Moshe has become the most important textile dealer in the world by default, and with that mantle he is self-impressed.

But having a classy gallery and an inventory of "important" rugs and tapestries does not bestow omnipotence. Far from it.

Tabibnia has very few what RK would call cutting-edge weavings, and a book like his "Milestones", the subject of our review, demonstrates this perfectly.

RK has tried to convince Moshe, to no avail mind you, a Turkmen rug, an Anatolian Village rug, a Kelim or a Soumak bag is as important, beautiful and evocative as a classical carpet.

On this last visit RK got so tired and bored listening to Tabibnia go on about how disrespected RK is in rugDUMB, how unappreciated we are, how our fame is only based on people's opinion our personality stinks, etc, etc we did not even bother to comment. Frankly we could care less, having heard this bullshit from him before.

We also had to almost laugh in his face when he tried to put words in our mouth about our extensive published research and work when he has never even bother to read anything we have written. He has affirmed this to us in the past and did so again recently.

Tabibnia has purchased copies of all our books directly from us but has never bothered to open them to read what is there, preferring to just look at the pictures we imagine.

We have known this for sometime, and that is really the reason we bothered to read the thompson text for the "Milestones" book and then critique it -- to get him to read it and appreciate our ability to critique and, yes, negate what thompson has stated.

And, even after telling him about it, emailing him several times links to it, we are sure he still has not read it.

What can you say about someone who feels they know something when they have never taken the first step to actually ever experienced it first-hand. Forget about then doing the hard work of understanding what they have experienced.

RK would have to call this type of person a pompous fool, and in fact we have, more than once, told Tabibnia this to his face.

The history of oriental rug collecting absolutely shows the failure of certain "fads", which have been promoted at one time or another, to stand the weight of time.

And today's fascination with classical carpets at the expense of equally as important non-classical ones will, and RK is sure about this as we are the sun will come up tomorrow, be considered as incorrect and short-sighted as the fascination with Kula and Ghiordes prayer rugs almost a century ago.

Tabibnia is in a very powerful position and he could really use that power to create new, cutting-edge appreciation in oriental rug studies.

However, his inability to demonstrate anything other than the most droll and obvious "commercial" interest in oriental rugs will eventually leave him and his reputation to fade just like the belief held decades ago a Kula prayer rug was 16th century.

Yes, of course, we know Tabibnia has a gallery to run and selling "furniture" and respected wall-"art" is his business.

But along with such activity, which will never foster a lasting or remarkable reputation, a far-sighted man would be moved to broaden the perimeter -- something which would garner and guarantee that type of reputation.

Sadly, Tabibnia just doesn't get it as the saying goes. And no arguments from RK will ever convince him we are 100 percent right.

Tabibnia is a salesman peddling an accepted product, while RK is an explorer and adventurer in unknown realms.

Our positions could not be more opposite; however, they could meet at a central point.

And that central point is both our need for an enlightened and educated audience, something which again Tabibnia doesn't get.

We sincerely doubt he ever will. But being the eternal optimist, something all explorers and adventurers must manifest, pushes us to continue to try.

Not only with Tabibnia but with others and in every situation we encounter.

We are emailing Tabibnia a link to this comment, and should he actually bother to read it we are equally sure its message will, like water on a duck's back, slide off with nary a notice.

Too bad for both of us, but how often do those who believe they know it all realize they don't?

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