Eleven years ago, in March 2004, dennis dodds lied and cheated his way into selling his late, genre period circa 1750 at best 'Bellini' rug to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Collectors Committee who donated it to the museum.
After foolishly believing dodds that the rug was 16th century, and having this corroborated by Walter Denny, jon thompson and louise mackie, Dale Gluckman, the museum's textile and costume curator championed the 'Bellini's' purchase by the Collectors Committee.
Alot has happened in the ensuing 11 years -- within a year Gluckman was fired from her job, the head of the museum Andrea Rich 'retired', Walter Denny recanted, admitted his error in dating it to the 16th century and changed his position to the rug being made circa 1650 - 1750 "...but at the end of that continuum", LACMA's head scientist, Dr. Mark Gilberg, wrote up a specious report attempting to confirm the early dating without one shred of evidence scientific or not, and LACMA began as unsuccessfully to cover up their errors and misrepresentations.
The 'Bellini' was exhibited at LACMA in Jan 2005.
The following was the caption describing the rug at that time. It was copied off the internet on 2.22.05 from this URL in LACMA's website, and is no longer there.
Exhibition Wall Label from "Luxury Textiles, East and West":
"Turkey, Anatolia, Konya region
" In sixteenth-century Europe, carpets from Turkey were luxury imports. Rarely placed on the floor, however, these richly patterned textiles were draped over tables, beds, or chests to proclaim the wealth and status of their owners. The natural dyes in this carpet are barely faded, providing a rare opportunity to experience their original vibrancy. The clear shapes and clean lines of the carpetís design give it an unusually strong architectural quality.
Knotted wool pile on wool foundation
98 1/2 x 64 1/2 in. (250.19 x 163.83 cm)
Gift of the 2004 Collectors Committee
Currently on public view
Department Costume and Textiles
Place Turkey, Anatolia, Konya region"
Even though at this time LACMA's administration knew the rug was hundreds of years later they continued to try and cover-up the fact and their complicity in fraudulently presenting it to the Collectors Committee for purchase.
Fast forward to 2015, here is LACMA's description of the 'Bellini' as it currently appears on their website:
Finally admitting dodds's 'Bellini' is not 16th century a decade after purchasing it might to some imply LACMA has faced the fact they got cheated. This interpretation appears to RK to be undeniable, as does the fact dodds description of it as a museum worthy object or a masterpiece of its type was anything but ignorant at best and at the worst complete lies.
LACMA is a rich museum and those belonging to the Collectors Committee are also wealthy so they all can well afford to have lost the 250,000 dollar purchase price.
And while we are sure few if any of those on the Collectors Committe even know they were cheated LACMA's administration surely does. And the reality they allowed dodds to lie and cheat his way into pawning off this rug on them, without any attempt to recind the sale, speaks volumes to a common practice in the museum world.
Better to suffer silently being cheated and retain a false aire of invulnerability than admit it and look stupid.
However, acknowledging the 'Bellini' is not circa 1550 but 1750 shows to any thinking individual just that.
And before what looked like her forced retirement Andrea Rich instructed her second in command to tell us "Even though we now know the 'Bellini' is circa 1750, and not 1550, it is still a pretty rug".
If this is not the stupidest statement any museum offical has ever made we cannot fathom what would be able to surpass it.