Home > Archive >acor seattle - Hype and Pump
email: jack@rugkazbah.com
Mon, Mar 29th, 2004 05:13:36 PM
Topic: acor seattle - Hype and Pump

The next rug world ‘show, sell and strut’ is happening in march in Seattle, Washington and the hype and pump for this ‘event’ appears to me to be at unprecedented levels.

Until the early 1990’s there was only one of these affairs, referred ubiquitously to as “conferences”, although not one has ever really lived up to the actual meaning of such a moniker.

Since then the rug world has been blessed with two, the original called the icoc (international conference on oriental rugs) and the second acor (american conference on oriental rugs).

At first acor was supposed to be different, more of a hands on touchy-feely, type of event that eschewed the pomp and circumstance of the more high-brow icoc. However over the ensuing decade plus these two ‘events’, like a old married couple, have grown together and now are virtually indistinguishable.

The crew of acor-ites who put on the first one have almost to a man/woman become members of the various elitist icoc organizing committees and their ‘conference for the common man’ has morphed itself into something that could only be characterized as a junior icoc or icoc-lite.

As far as I am concerned (and this viewpoint is not only mine, a number of other folks share it as well) neither of these ‘events’ is anything more than my characterization of – a “show, sell and strut”. Why? Because they are not able to capture the layman’s - i.e. those who are not already ruggies - attention, stimulate any real interest from outside the tiny confines of the rug world or produce anything other than the same old same old. In all other field, conferences produce new, innovative and ground-breaking insights and information – but not in the rug-world.

This is not their only failure but this post is not intended as a critique of the what’s and whys they fail in being a real conferences but rather to remark about the impending Seatlle affair.

At first hali seemed almost to ignore acor but now that all the acor-ites have been co-opted into membership in icoc, to which hali maintains a rather incestuous relationship, things are different.

In the latest edition there is a large ‘spread’ hyping the acor event and on their website several ‘pump ‘em up’ articles have been published.

Today another one appeared with the following photo, which is one of the pieces from one of the shows that are being organized for Seattle:

Here is the caption accompanying this photo:
“Karapinar rug fragment, central Anatolia, 17th/18th century. 0.89 x 2.13m (2'11" x 7'0"). Private collection.”

It was a tough decision where to put this post and instead of putting in the “over-dating” thread I decided to start a new one.

Whether or not this actually is a Karapinar is debatable, however, its dating is not.

Calling this 17th century is stretching the pizza-dough much too thin, as even an 18th century guesstimate would be generous.

Most probably this is an early 19th or at best a late 18th century Turkish village weaving. It demonstrates none of the characteristics associated with 17th century. At least none I believe early, and 17th century is early, Turkish rugs possess.

The two dimensionality of the design and the lack of color variance are the two most apparent clues.

Needless to say the rug world likes to over-date and few if any of the major participants in this game want to set the dating-record straight.

This works in their favor, both for selling and creating buzz, but in the long rug it is an error.

So get out your check-books and send your money to acor. For all intents and purposes the hali hype most probably signifies lagging interest and we all know icoc and acor can only perpetuate themselves by getting folks to pay to attend.

And by the way, your conference fees also pay for a number of perks and free-bees icoc and acor insiders enjoy – from free rooms and limos to dinners and invitation only events.

But hey, that’s the way it is in the real world, not only the rug world, right??.

Author: jc
Mon, Mar 29th, 2004 05:13:36 PM

As readers know RK.com had no presence at the affair in Seattle and, although a number of reports and comments about the goings on there have been offered by those who did, no second hand commentaries will be appearing here.

Should any of the people who have spoken off the record choose to post their remarks here in public that will be more in keeping with our aim to provide first-hand news and analysis.

Suffice it to say there was unanimous agreement the shows were excellent, the venue was well thought out and accommodating and there was little of the disorganization that had plagued other acors.

Of the shows, the Turkmen exhibition of Michael Rothberg's collection was voted the best, even by those not enamored by Turkmen rugs. The collector's show and the rugs from jin burn's collection both were a close second.

Author: jc
Fri, Mar 26th, 2004 12:15:17 AM

Three months ago RK.com predicted acor in Seattle was having trouble in the registration dept. That prediction is now proven correct as the official tally of full paid registrants is below expectations, way below.

In fact the "leaders" of the acor pack now realize their hopes of surpassing the last one of these junior icoc puff and strut events, held in 'Innyapolis', have fizzled like a wet firecracker at a 4th of July picnic.

And why is that? And why did the amateur organizers fall for their own hype? Sorry but that's a can of worms even Rk.com knows is better left in their laps than ours. Suffice it to say one icoc is bad enough.

Here's the official schedule the organizers are presenting to, as they so redundantly put it, "Educate Your Mind"(RK.com would like to know what other parts of the body or soul would they expect to "Ed-do-kate"?):
ACOR 7 Program schedule:
Friday, 9-10 a.m. Jon Thompson -plenary session– (Nomadic Peoples of Iran)
Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - "cedar chest" (small) sessions: Val Arbab (Rug identification), Charles Lave & Bethany Mendenhall (Turkish rugs)
Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - Jim Burns (Afshar rugs and Persian rugs with prayer designs), Anna Brown Ehlers (Chilkat blankets), Marla Mallett (Structural analysis and design)
Friday, 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. - "cedar chest": Ralph & Linda Kaffel (selected weavings), Michael Wendorf (Kurdish bags)
Friday, 2:30 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. - Cathy Cootner (On Collecting II), Bruce Froemming (Kungrat and Lakai), Mike Tschebull (Zeikhur rugs)
Friday, 4 - 5 p.m. - "cedar chest": Lawrence Kearney (Selected weavings), Erik Risman (Ersari)
Friday, 4 - 5 p.m. - Robert Chenciner (Weavings of Daghestan), David Paly (Ikats), Terry King/Tom Hubbard (collecting for new collectors)
Saturday, 9 - 10 a.m. - "cedar chest": Bruce Baganz (Shahsavan), James Douglas (Baluch)
Saturday, 9 - 10 a.m. - Tom Cole (Turkmen embroidery), Davut Mizrahi (Manastir kilims), Leonard Helfgott (Women and the Persian Carpet industry)
Saturday, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. - "cedar chest": Lawrence Kearney (selected weavings), Charles Lave & Bethany Mendenhall (Turkish)
Saturday, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. - Natalia Nekrassova (Saryk), Shiv Sikri (Design markers), Frank Diehr (Baluch)
Saturday, 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. - "cedar chest": Ralph & Linda Kaffel (Turkish), Michael Wendorf (Kurdish bags)
Saturday, 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. - Peter Poullada (non-Ersari tribes of the Amu Darya), Bill Liske (Tibetan rugs), Michelle Wipplinger (Natural dyes)
Saturday, 4 - 5 p.m. - "cedar chest": Bruce Baganz (Shahsavan), Erik Risman (Ersari)
Saturday, 4 - 5 p.m. - Christian Erber (Suzani with herat design), Dennis Dodds panel (documenting your collection), Harald Bohmer (Nomads in Anatolia)
Sunday, 8 - 9:00 a.m. - "cedar chest": Val Arbab (rug identification), James Douglas (baluch)
Sunday, 8 - 9:30 a.m. - Rug Society Breakfast meeting
Sunday, 10 - 11 a.m. - Closing plenary, Wendel Swan panel: Mystery Rug

There are a number of highly questionable presentations in this list, perhaps the ones that stand out the most are(these are mentioned in the order presented above and not according to their questionable nature:
1. Val Arbab (Rug identification) - now tell me what does this "rug pillow" dealer from LA's Melrose Ave know about rug identification that any newbie couldn't learn on turrkootek?
2.Cathy Cootner (On Collecting II) - is this another one of ms cootner's shill games to help her pay her rent?
3.Robert Chenciner (Weavings of Daghestan) - will mr chenciner be autographing copies of his book for attendees or will he just be hyping, and hoping to sell, his large stock of those horrid kaitag embroideries? you know the ones he and his partner little lord fransis, claim are 17th and 18th century and RK.com debunks as 19th and 20th?
4.Terry King/Tom Hubbard (collecting for new collectors) - first what new collectors pony up 400$ plus airfare, hotel and food costs to attend an event like this? second who are terry king and tom hubbard? they sure sound like newbies to me and what do they know that another newbie might want to learn?
5.Tom Cole (Turkmen embroidery - well, well, mr cole sure is the rising star of the rug world. A few years ago mr cole was having trouble spelling the word Turkmen, let alone analyzing their embroideries
6.Leonard Helfgott (Women and the Persian Carpet industry) - this one sounds great on paper but I guarantee there will be few seat bottoms warmed during that talk
7.Shiv Sikri (Design markers) - from the discoverer of the "internal elem" we now have "design markers". Will wonders never cease?
8.Michelle Wipplinger (Natural dyes) - will ms wipplinger be bringing her mass spectrometer and/or high pressure liquid chromatography set up along for demos? or will she just be soaking some indigo in camel peepee for attendees to sample?
9.Christian Erber (Suzani with herat design) - herr und frau erber must be pretty horny for a chance to parade their collection before a few new eager eyes to travel all the way from Munchen for the opportunity
10.Dennis Dodds panel (documenting your collection) - will mr dodds be offering his services at Xnumber of 100$/per hour to help those in need of this "service". Or will he just be passing out DIY"inventory" forms?
11.Closing plenary, Wendel Swan panel: Mystery Rug - last, but surely not least, will "swindel", as he is afffectionately known to many of his rug acquaintances, just be unveiling this mystery or will he be able to demystify it?

Does the rug world really need another three day program chocked full of these “give a lecture and stay for freebies”? Does the rug world need an acor that has now become a de facto junior icoc?

Remember most folks don't bother to get out of bed in the morning to attend these twaddle-filled talks, and wisely so because all they do is add an element of pseudo scholarship and erudition to an event that is basically social (back-slapping, my rug is at least as good as his) and commercial(don't forget to bring that extra suitcase, as bethany and charles advised, so you can take home a delight from dealer's row).

Let's face facts: the icoc is bad enough and now acor's ape-ing their pretentious "academic program" is just plain dopey. Have the acor promoters forgotten their reason d'etre? or was the lure of cozying up to, and being co-opted, by the icoc big shots just to powerful to resist?

To some what is written here might sound like sour grapes from someone like myself who is an outsider. All I can about that is the following: I was there when the icoc and acor started and was asked to join in organizing. Why didn't I? The main reason was the perception, which is now fact, that those in charge were more interested in their own self-aggrandizement and advancement than in advancing the subject at hand.

I have attended a number of icoc and two acors but at this point i would not travel farther than a few hours by car to attend one again -- too much hot air and no fun balloon rides - -forget about anything else folks, these events should be FUN. But unfortunately the only fun most people have there is around the bar where the pretentiousness and chimeric academic rigamarole get lost in a haze of putrid smoke and cheap beer and wine.

Sorry y'all but twice cooked pork in a lousy Chinese restaurant sound more appealing than that.....and i dont eat pork or chinese food in restaurants, ever.

Author: jc
Thu, Jan 15th, 2004 09:12:13 AM

It's now official, jim burns will be manning his own selling booth at acor.

Burns, a very successful trial attorney, has been collecting rugs since the early 60's and his collection has included many heavy-weight and wonderful pieces. It's also has had some real clinkers.

Beginning in the late 70's burns began to sell off pieces from his holdings first rather slowly but his selling efforts have increased over the years.

Now that he has 'retired' from his legal practice, it appears a new, second career for him is in the works - he's gonna be a rug dealer.

Time will tell if mr burns is able and willing to stomach the trials and tribulations concomitant with such a career choice, even if it is only going to be done from his bedroom, without a store or major public presence..

But then again, since burns is more than well-heeled in the financial department, he might be able to skirt the usual dismay and despair all the rug dealer I have ever met continually voice concerning the vagaries and perplexing buying habits that run rampant in the rug world.

Best of luck, mr burns, and please accept my sympathies in advance for your brave move to throw your hat into the rug-dealing arena.

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