(ed. note: This post was written when RK first began our crusade to inform LACMA about the true facts of their purchase and to show dennis dodds the selling of such a dud of a rug to a high profile Museum of LACMA's stature was a greedy and grevious mistake. Like the entirety of RK argument, this letter is as potent today as it was way back then in 2005.)
An Open Letter to dennis dodds
When I called you several weeks ago concerning my reservations about the age and provenance of the Turkish Rug you sold to LACMA, you made it appear as my opinion was unique and alien to what everyone else thinks. Everything you said, including the comment I was “…a voice in the wind” stemmed from and reflected that position.
Rk.com well understands, as that is naturally the one someone in your place wants to believe.
However, unfortunately for you, it is untrue and totally imaginary to hold such a belief in the face of what is happening.
So far everyone we have contacted doubts the rug is circa 1600 and believes the market for such rugs would never support the inflated price you charged. The collectors and dealers canvassed for this “survey” come from all levels of the rug world – experts, journeymen and women and novices. Not one of them holds the opinion this rug is any more than 200 years old nor did anyone think a price of “around 200,000 pounds” was correct. (By the way we challenge you to make your own sample and prove us wrong.)
Ok, you might then say: Who cares what they say, the Museum bought the rug not them, and besides, the “experts” who vetted the rug for them all supported your claims about the piece.
Fair enough and true, RK.com might say but we’d also offer that such a position is myopic on your part at best.
Why?, well hear this now mr. Dodds, in case you missed it last time. None of those rug world names is a specialist in Turkish rugs and, in fact, only one of them, jon thompson, could rightly be called a carpetman (although Rk.com believes carpet-bagger might be more applicable in his case).
So, dennis, you got lucky and far more than the benefit of the doubt, either by design or accident, and LACMA’s unfamiliarity and naiveté with Oriental Rugs allowed them to use that troika of “names” instead of consulting others who, while not as famous, know far more than thompson, denny and mackie about early Turkish Village/Town weaving.
RK is sure had LA done proper due diligence before signing the check, they would have learned the truth about all this, and more, not only the fairy tales you spun and they wanted to believe.
In speaking to others, and these are people who even though they know RK.com’s position about the authenticity of this rug - and not yours - is correct, some thought RK.com should just leave it alone, as making waves would result in nothing other than ruffling feathers.
One respondent, who it should be mentioned isn’t an expert on Early Turkish Rug but knew enough to flatly say after seeing it in person “This rug can’t be any older than circa 1800 if that. And besides, it’s a boring rug with nothing other than condition going for it.”
Obviously we agree, however, we don’t agree with their next statement “ But I don’t care how old the rug is or isn’t because it’s better than LACMA buying some dresses or hats Nancy Reagan wore with that money. I’ll take this rug any day over stuff like that.”
After hearing that and having a bit of a chuckle, the atmosphere got a bit tense because we called that statement myopic and totally foolish.
Why? Well we explained buying a late period reproduction Turkish Rug, like dodds’s, and then masquerading it as real is far worse than buying 100's of Nancy’s hats and frocks – at least they are what they are cracked up to be.
And on top of all this the rug is boring and will never be able to excite the public, even as much as the worst piece in Nancy’s closet possibly could. No, dodds, your rug doesn't even come close to expressing the wonder and majesty that genuine circa 1600 Early Turkish Village/Town weavings embody. Even the most rug ignorant, but art sensitive, lay viewer will quickly realize this, even if you and the troika of experts couldn't.
Rk.com doesn’t believe in any argument based on the lesser of two evils paradigm, especially when it comes to politics or art – both of which are deeply embedded in the LACMA rug fiasco.
Ok, then, that’s the problem - i.e. almost everyone besides dodds, thompson, mackie and denny doesn’t believe in the rug’s alleged age or its over-the-top price - now what’s the solution?
Since LACMA’s ms. dale gluckman, the purchasing department’s curator and principal proponent of the sale, has made it clear to us she is unwilling (or is it afraid) to even question her purchase and that such a decision will have to come from those way above her, and her department, in the Museum. Rk knows more than a bit about the museum-world and, for that to happen, a tsunami of doubt about her and the rug would have to sweep thru LACMA’s board room. RK also knows that will take time and be a very messy affair for all concerned, and by all concerned we mean, you mr dodds, as well as, in general, everyone who is truly interested in the rug world.
No, mr dodds, rather than see that we hope and expect you will realize the errors you made here and go to LACMA with your apology, take your rug back and repay them their money.
We realize this would be a sacrifice on your part, dennis, but in the end it will be better than sacrificing your reputation and entire future career in the rug world. Put on those terms we cannot see how you could refuse.
After all as time goes by our position about the rug you sold, and not yours, will be proven correct. And as more and more people see it rest assured few, if any of them, will line up behind you and the three stooges who vetted it.
So really, dennis, you have no choice. Do the right thing, man, and take it back. It would be a giant step for the rug world to finally exhibit some self-governing respect for reality and truth instead of the emperor’s new clothes and tinkerbell fairy tales that pass for these far more lofty and, almost ever absent virtues, in rugdom.
As a final note please remember, mr dodds, you will not want to have your name associated with selling a bogus rug to LACMA (and the ruckus it will, trust us on this one, eventually cause us all).
You have the choice right now to undo this sale and, though in doing so you will not escape some public culpability for failing to prove to be the rug expert you supposedly are, you will be better respected for having made this decision long into the future.
RK.com always says “ Big people make mistakes but little people are always right”. And here, dennis dodds, this situation requires you to be a big man. Try it, you might actually like it.