Home > Archive >Jan 19 Re: textile museum's New Director
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Wed, Jan 19th, 2005 06:09:57 PM
Topic: Jan 19 Re: textile museum's New Director

We have decided to add this new Topic Area, "The Beat Goes On", to provide a spot for short commentaries on rug-world issues of the day.

There have been a number of recent 'happenings' in rugdom and this, we decided, is the best way to bring them to your attention today. It will also serve to do likewise in the future.

By now we are sure most of your have heard the new director of the textile museum is none other than dan walker, who is presently the curator of the Metropolitan Museum's Islamic department.

Rk.com was rather shocked by his appointment as we had heard the very reason for searching out a new director was to change the orientation and atrophy this Washington D.C. institution has been mired in for as long as we can remember.

Why were we shocked? In a nut-shell dan walker is basically a Classical Carpet person whose knowledge of non- Ottoman/Safavid weavings is less than spectacular. In fact, frankly speaking, RK.com would be surprised if mr walker could prove himself more knowledgeable or intuitive about what we like to call low-culture weavings than someone like steev price or any of the other internet rug pundits. We say this after having had a number of conversations with mr walker over the years. We do believe, besides for this issue, he is an ok choice. But since the textile museum needs skilled, intuitive and expert leadership to find its way into the 21st century and, because it is basically an Oriental Rug and related weavings museum(regardless of any other way it tries to represent itself), the appointment of someone of walker's ilk will do nothing in our opinion to enable that change to occur.

Rk.com has followed dan's career at the Met and honestly feels, because he didn't do anything original or significant there, the chance is slight for his rising to the occasion in his new position.

By the way, we have always thought the title of his major, and only accomplishment at the Met, the Mughal Rug Exhibition "Flowers Underfoot" was an incredibly poor choice. Presenting the great artistic and technical achievement these carpets represented for the Mughal Empire to the public as "underfoot" is both a subtle and obvious put-down and, at the same time, provides a look inside walker's pedestrian perception of what these art-works mean to him. We'd surely preferred a title that would have both captured the magic and beauty the best of that genre of rugs evokes, as well as one that pay homage and compliment to them. Too bad walker was not perceptive enough to even realize his choice does nothing but support the art-world in generalís opinion and perception Oriental Rugs are not fine art, like painting and sculpture, but merely a lesser decorative art.

So much for the textile museum's choice for its new director - its a safe one but surely not an inspired one.

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