Home > LACMA's Questionable Rug Purchase >The Emperor's New Clothes/Rug re:LACMA
Wed, Jan 26th, 2005 07:44:51 PM
Topic: The Emperor's New Clothes/Rug re:LACMA

“Yes, Sire, You look marvelous”

This is what LACMA expects us all to chant as we stand before the dodds dud. Unfortunately for them, only dodds and gluckman are mouthing such platitudes. And while RK recognizes an Emperor’s New Clothes analogy is not a perfect fit – after all there really is a rug hanging there in the gallery - it does characterize the situation quite well.

Today RK spoke to one of the ‘names’ in the Los Angeles rug world, who asked not to be quoted, so please excuse our respecting that wish, but we are free to quote what was told to us
1.“….everybody is snickering about the LACMA rug"
2. “I and other people are glad the museum got taken and bought a crappy rug for too much money.”

RK’s response was clear and brutal:
“Those are the most immature and imbecilic comments to ever come from the mouth of a rug collector. Instead of snickering or high-fiving the museum’s stupidity in getting lumbered with dodds’s dud you all should call the museum and register your opinions. After all if you’re snickering because you all know the rug is a dud, why not inform the museum you know so. It might help them to see their way through their error.”

RK then put the phone down and called sherry hunter who is, at the moment, the reigning “queen-bee” of the LA rug collector scene. Ms hunter, you will all remember, just wrote a “review” of LACMA’s new textile show where the dodds carpet is so proudly on view – center stage and all the trimmings.

Here’s what she had to say about it “
“Among these were the department’s latest acquisition, a 16th century double-niche carpet from Anatolia purchased by the 2004 Collectors’ Committee (4). Geometric in design, its rich saturated colours were probably made for a Venetian drawing-room, where it might have been hung as a panel or draped on a table, and could have been used as a prop in a painting by one of the great artists of the day. In good condition with little restoration, it has some playfulness in the multi-coloured checkerboard stripes that fill the trapezoidal spaces between the ‘dumbbell”-shaped niches and borders. The meandering floral vine in the main border is not exactly perfect, but a bit jagged, and was probably woven from memory, or copied from another carpet rather than from a cartoon.”

In our short phone call with ms hunter, RK learned she was called by hali’s editor, hamburger danny, and specifically asked to “…review the rug and the show for hali.”. According to ms hunter when she mention to him she “…was not an expert in 16th, 17th, or 18th century rugs and didn’t feel comfortable doing it…”, hamburger danny “…insisted she was capable and should do it regardless of her expressing reservations.”

Obviously Pluto should have listened to her as the result proves how truly incapable she actually is.

The amateurish and absurd comments ms hunter utters, like the rug could have been the subject of one of the great painters of the 16th century or it wasn’t “…copied…from a cartoon.”, typify one of the reasons RK is so against looking the other way at LACMA’s mistake.

When a pedestrian piece of art, like dodds’s late period reproduction re-entrant rug, is paraded in front of novices as a historic ‘masterpiece’ they believe it and hunter’s paean surely proves this in spades, now doesn’t it.

This is perhaps the most heinous ‘crime’ – misleading the public - whether or not it is perpetrated with forethought or knowledge or through blind indifference or ignorance, the result is the same.

But as important as rectifying this “art-crime” is for rugdom, hali’s trumpeting it is far, far worse.

Is schaeffer so full of chop-meat that he can’t realize how lame and inaccurate hunter’s portrayal is? Or is he, like the three stooges (mackie, thompson and denny), unable or unwilling to call a dud a dud for vested reasons? Or are all these jokers really so ill prepared in their expertise to believe it is 16th century, a “museum-piece” and worth the 250,000 dollars LACMA anted up?

Frankly, RK could care less what goes on in their mini-minds, as the “proof is in the pudding”, and that pudding is now dribbling down more than LACMA’s chin.

In ms hunter’s terminology a re-entrant design is really a “dumbbell” and as poor a choice of words that is, it is apt. For not only was gluckman a dumbbell in failing to properly exercise due diligence in her purchase (especially since she readily admits knowing “nothing about oriental rugs”) but dodds, the three stooges, and hamburger danny are even bigger ones, as they would never be so honest as gluckman was to admit that they, too, are rug ignoramuses – dumbbells all in RK’s estimation. And we agree with ms hunter’s choice of cartoon because sadly that’s what this is – nothing more than a cartoon. And it’s not even funny or entertaining.

As we wrote the other day, there is considerable back-field in motion and hopefully soon the results of that will be apparent to all – even LACMA’s director Andrea Rich.

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