Like many other names in the rug world walter denny often travels around the country giving ‘lectures’ at the museums where rug shows he has ‘curated’ are on exhibition. He also ‘lectures’ at the various rug societies that have sprung up over the last decade in major cities throughout the USA.
In fact, right now, denny’s off on another rug tour, speaking in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston. What’s the topic of his lecture? If you guessed early Turkish rugs you’re right on the money, as that’s supposedly the topic professor denny intends to enlighten all those fortunate enough to gain a seat at his allegedly sold-out performances.
All well and good says RK but it is too bad denny got himself mired in the LACMA/dodds mess. By doing so these lectures have now taken on a twist that perhaps the professor of art history at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, as denny is described in his publicity bios, might not have preferred.
This turn of events, his vetting the rug as a genuine circa 1600 museum quality “masterpiece” and then RK’s pronouncement it is nothing of the sort, has put denny in a rather uncomfortable position – we have decided to title “denny’s dilemma”. Clearly he is in a no-win position. By fessing up the rug is, what RK claims – nothing more than a late period reproduction – denny ends up looking the fool. But, in our estimation, better to look the fool now than be judged as one forever. If he doesn’t recant, and continues to publicly maintain the three stooges position the rug is circa 1600/etc, eventually he, and his fellow stooges, will face even further problems and his reputation as Turkish rug ‘expert’ will be permanently blemished.
So far the jury is out on what he will do and, as the following report shows us, we see denny as still unsure of what side he will finally come down. Again he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.
Both the San Francisco and Los Angeles lectures have already happened and, from what RK has learned, it seems denny was a bit more than uptight at having had his role in the LACMA/dodds mess made public.
RK has received several accounts of denny’s stay and lecture in San Francisco so let us share them with you now:
While talking to a noted collector from the bay area at a small private dinner for that was organized the night before his ‘lecture’ denny was overheard saying:
1. “Because my lecture contains a number of photos of real re-entrant rugs I can’t very well give it in LA…”. RK and everyone else should interpret this on face value, i.e. by showing genuine 16th century examples no one could possibly believe the LACMA/dodds piece was anything other than the late period reproduction RK has claimed it is.
2. When this noted bay area collector emphatically told denny he believes the LACMA/dodds rug was made circa 1760 denny shook his head in agreement and did nothing to counter that statement. In fact, our informant said he was surprised denny agreed with the collector and offered no rebuttal or argument.
The following evening, after denny’s appearance before the bay area rug society, there was an announcement there would be no questions for the audience and he was quickly hustled out of the room.
This is highly unusual as these lectures always schedule a question and answer period to allow the speaker to take comments and questions from the audience. Obviously to avoid any public confrontations concerning the LACMA/dodds rug and denny’s role in vetting it for the museum the organizers or perhaps denny himself requested this change.
This, in itself, speaks volumes about denny’s (and the other two stooges) increasingly tenuous positions concerning their vetting the LACMA/dodds’s dud rug as circa 1600, or it being a “masterpiece” suitable for a museum collection, or worth the highly inflated price LACMA paid.
Several nights later denny spoke in Los Angeles and in the next installment of “denny’s dilemma” you will learn what happened there.