Home > The Beat Goes On >that rag hali issue 190 Winter 2017
Sun, Feb 26th, 2017 05:31:30 AM
Topic: that rag hali issue 190 Winter 2017

Detail of the other half

Today RK read through the latest issue of that rag hali and to say we were unimpressed would be not be incorrect.

As always just about anything published in this magazine exhibits both a sticky-fingered self-oriented agenda and a distinctly obnoxious bias to favor itself and those who are its in-group at the total disregard of anyone and anything else in the field. To this magazines detriment neither produces a satisfactory measure of journalistic neutrality, forget truth.

That rag hali is a plain and simple propaganda organ first and foremost playing the tune of michael, aka little lord, franses, who for the past several years has returned to once again leave his sticky-fingers and sweaty palms all over its keyboard.

But self-promotion and self-dealing has always been that rag halis modus operandi, so no surprises there.

Reading ben, aka jimmy olsen, evans editorial is always an exercise in deciphering the big-word-itis his prose more than not often suffers. An editor should know concise is far better than flatulent, but evans continues to only shoot a gaseous cloud whenever he editorializes.

Most of this editorial obits hans konig, another hajji baba-ite, who during his lifetime had gold-plated medals of brass and tin hung around his neck for his rug-world achievements. Surely RK is not trying to nullify the worth of all konigs efforts. However, somehow we wonder why if he and the rest of the crowd including franses, dodds, swann. boralevi and others, who have had those medals strung around their necks, were so great in their achievements how come rugDUMB is still at the bottom of the barrel of art appreciation and collecting?

Sorry but Hans Koenig, and the rest of them, just did what they wanted to do because they benefitted from it. No mother Theresa was Konig or the rest of them.

Ending evans self-stilted and congratulatory editorial is a plea for everyone to sign up for the coming Baku rug conference and tours.

We encourage readers to sign up to the conference and the accompanying tours and cultural itineraries. An article in HALI 191 will provide more information, but in the meantime, the conference website has more on the programme and how to register: www.isacbaku.org.

And why wouldnt he hype it as that rag hali is organizing most of the action and has high hopes they will benefit financially from it?

Ahhh, more self-dealing thinly disguisedWTF else is new.

Moving along we came to an article by Marcus Voight, someone who is now securely on the hali team because he can be counted to push the agenda. In Voights flickering newsreel overview of some recent ruggie events that took place in Vienna, Austria one weekend last November RK noticed an interesting tidbit Following a panel discussion, collector Roland Weise revealed his plans for a German carpet museum

Now that could be real news and should at least have had some good follow-up commentary from Voight. But, alas, probably since Weises plans did not include, or have nothing to do with, that rag hali no further mention was, or has been forthcoming.

Need more to see how it works with these selfish folks at that rag hali?

There is no doubt: What carpet collecting and research desperately needs is more participation by noted museums and other institutions. And any new efforts to start a carpet museum in an important art-loving country like Germany should be generously supported by the magazine.

But that rag hali couldnt give a hoot or a holler about trying to get such a project going unless their, and little lord fransess sticky-fingers were involved.

Moving along, arguably the best article, from both its content and interest for rug collectors, was written by Hadi Maktabi, one of the scions of the long established carpet business in Beirut. He reports on the not so new carpet museum in city of Mashad, located on the ground of the ancient Imam Reza shrine.

He has done a well- presented and researched job, the only slight negative one could pose is the lack of even more illustrations. But we all realize perfection is only in Gods hands, and were articles like this more often contained between that rag halis glossy covers RK could be out of a job. Ha Ha, just joshing.

Another article which deserves mention and attention, though not at all for the same laudation, is the glowing eulogy rug dealer Peter Scholten penned concerning his recently departed friend, and mentor(?), Muzaffar Kaplan.

RK put the question mark there because although Scholten presents Kaplan as the teacher for many rug dealers he never mentions if his own education took place at Kaplans knee.

RK had never met, nor had ever we heard about, Muzaffer until 2010 when we attended the Italian Sartirana rug fair. Besides the fact it was our first and btw our last visit, and we were in northern Italy at the time, the primary reason for our traipsing into the boring tasteless wasteland where it takes place in a charming out of the way old mill was to confront ali osman, aka anatolianpicker, who had cheated us some years before and refused to honor his promises to repay the money he agreed he owed.

RK was at the set-up for the show, having been invited by one of the organizers, and we made a bee-line for osmans stand. He did not know what we looked like but RK had gotten pictures of him, so we recognized him immediately.

We approached him intent on demanding he pay us on the spot, and failing to get that we planned on taking with us any of his merchandise that might equal the debt he owed.

Getting into his face might be the best way to describe our come-on and osman kept saying he would pay us at the end of the show. This was way too little too late, as he had already owed us the debt for more than 2 years and we already had enough of his tomorrows promises.

We were just about ready to take a few of his rugs when Muzaffar Kaplan walked up and in English asked RK what was going on. After recounting the litany of BS osman had given us about his failure to honor his debt Kaplan started speaking Turkish to osman and then asked RK to come to the side and talk with him privately.

Honestly we did not want to, but now having lost the momentum of the moment with osman, we agreed. Kaplan then said osman promises to pay by the end of November, which was about 6 weeks hence. RK immediately said this is no good as we had already heard, and had a million and one, unfulfilled promises from osman and were not going to accept any more.

Kaplan then told us he was so sure that osman would pay that he guaranteed it by pledging to pay the debt himself if osman failed again to honor his promises.

Stupidly, RK accepted Kaplans words and when osman failed to pay we called Kaplan and told him the situation. I am sorry for you Kaplan said and when we reminded him of his pledge to pay the debt himself if osman failed to Kaplan denied ever having made that promise.

So much for the honest Abe of Istanbul Peter Sholten lovingly paints his friend Muzaffar.

Several years later after RK applied more pressure osman finally made a half-assed effort to pay his debt but in the end RK still lost almost 50% on the deal, forget all the phone calls and agro.

The cover article is on the collection of cute unimportant Turkmen womens embroidered pouches from the collection of Marshall and Marilyn Wolf. The Wolfs, like the rudnicks, are diehard rug-groupies who attend every and any event. To say they live and breath for rugDUMB is not exaggeration.

And they, like the rudnicks, have amassed a collection, but theirs way outnumbers the rudnicks 100 examples. Supposedly, as RK has heard it, the Wolfs have over 700 pieces. We have seen some and to tell the truth it is of varying quality, from rare and important to instantly forgettable, more of the latter than the former for sure.

Frankly, we and others we have spoken with, find a cover article on these folksy little pouches completely unwarranted. It is also patently obvious were that rag hali not so impressed by Marshall Wolfs large fortune, and hoping to finally get some of it in their coffers, RK is positive such an article would never have seen the light of day.

Another mentionable article is another nod to someone from the in-group, moshe tabibnia and his money-man client Romain Zaleski. Too bad the well-worn out and moribund carpets in paintings meme is the focus of this preview of an exhibition to be held in Venice, Italy at the famous CadOro villa on the Grand Canal.

Cloaking a sure to say-nothing-new exhibition in the title In Bodes Shadow the author mentions supposed similarities between the former owner of the CadOro, Baron Franchetti(1865-1927) who collected some carpets among his widely varied other interests and artistic passions and Romaine Zaleski (1933- ).

The articles attempt to draw parallel between Franchetti and Zaleski is a major dead-end, as Franchetti put his money where his mouth was and donated the CadOro and his entire collection to the Italian government in 1916. So far all Zaleski has done is head-fake his intentions and so far nothing to substantiate those intentions or to display his generosity.

Since von Bodes time, the late 19th and early 20th century, it has been common knowledge some types of commercial workshop, whether royal or other wise, carpets were featured in the paintings of the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. This surely dates some of them to those periods but frankly this is old hat, and to herald but another hanging of a carpet next to a painting as newsworthy is about as mentionable as Donald Trump changing his mind on another of his policy positions.

Plus the fact tabibnia has already presented a number of these carpet and paintings pairings in his gallery in Milan makes this event even more of a nonstarter.

Other articles RK will ignore comments on thanks to our disinterest in Afrian beaded things and Oceanic 20th century cloths and weavings are typical for that rag halis longstanding attempt at a rotation to try and attract a tribal arts readership.

This has done nothing, nor will it ever do anything, to broaden the ever diminishing base of its carpet-centric readership, and by now only the dolts that toil in that rag halis organizational hierarchy have yet to see it as anything but worthless.

It is a carpet magazine and regardless of publishing articles on African beads or masks, American Indian fetishes, Japanese baskets or Oceanic bark cloths this is not a tribal arts publication, plain and simple. Nor will it ever attract enough additional readership to justify such off topic tangents.

Last for RKs scalpel is a brief dissection of the ridiculously positive review of the Neville Kingston Turkmen rug Collection publication.

This reviewer forgets to state that rag hali was hired to publish the book. Gee, any wonder for the glowing review?

Were the book superlative there would be no questions raised, but in fact the book is so substandard, in presentation, text and pieces assembled, it boggles the mind how anyone could honestly praise this effort.

Oh, well, the reviewer is none other than michael buddeberg, who is both a Turkmen carpet nobody and know-nothing. However, worse, he is the collector of the saddest and most unappealing ghastly collection of Tibetan rugs RK has ever seen. And considering his crapola collection was given to the Five Continents Museum in Munich, Germany, and they just opened an exhibition that is the ugliest exhibit of weavings we have ever witnessed, buddebergs dumbass comments about the Kingston Collection and publication are quite well explained.

Downright dopey comments like this litter this two page review:

The collection is individual (in the sense of unusual) above all because, in addition to rare and early pieces from the Turkmen Salor, Saryk, Tekke, Yomut, Chodor and Arabachi tribes, it focuses clearly on those carpets widely known as Ersari and Beshir, which are generally not highly prized by purist Turkmen collectors, and sometimes not even accorded Turkmen status

There is, strictly speaking, hardly more than one or two examples RK would call rare and early in the group, making buddebergs quote as valid and valuable as a three dollar bill.

But the following totally untrue assessment of this publication takes the cake for dishonesty.

the books superb production, with its high-quality paper, outstanding reproductions of the carpets

Bah. Humbug. And while RK has not read every word elena tsareva scribbled, we can unimpeachably state for the record her text, like that for the peter hoffmeister publication she also authored and which was published by the same publishers, is mostly a fairy-tale regurgitation of nonsense barely worthy of a girl-scout campfire narrative.

Madame comrade tsareva is a sham, her research is as rotten as month old fruit, and this book is not worthy of even in footnote in Turkmen studies.

We are sure Mr Kingston is a nice man, who enjoyed collecting in the bush, getting his hands dirty unlike many collectors who sit in their living room with auction catalogs as their hunting ground. We are also sure he was led down the garden path to put up the money for this book by both Arnoldshe publishers andthat rag hali and expects some return.

There will be none other than this review.

RK predicts this book will sooner than later be remaindered and discounted to around 25% of the now 60 euro selling price.

Then it might be worth adding to your library but tsarevas tinkerbell text will never enjoy that recommendation.

PS: RK would be remiss if we did not decry but another glowing paean to rosalie and mitch rudnick, their now dispersed collection, and the thought of any legacy they have left in rugDUMB.

Yessshhh, enough already about this couple and their headlong push into rug infamy.

The financial drubbing they took losing at least 50% of their investment in acquiring their collection over almost three decades, forget about all the ancillary costs of travel, meals, etc and return on their investment, should be enough to usher them stage right to be never seen again.

Stars they werent by a long shot, and all the attention paid to them makes it so abundantly clear how desperate that rag hali is for a story.

Really now, who cares, or wants to now read:

After Rosalie and Mitch Rudnick started collecting in the 1980s, their relentless enthusiasm and unfailing good nature endeared them to people from coast to coast, and soon throughout Europe and Turkey.

Is rug collecting a popularity contest? Of course not, and the only reason the rudnicks were popular was their penchant to open their wallet and overpay for less than great examples. The results of their sale proved this hands down.

They got and heeded some good advice early on, and focused carefully and consciously on the acquisition of outstanding pieces. Not that they let other people make their decisions; their choices were always individual and personal.

Had this been true their collection would have done well at the auction block but the results of the sale prove it totally fiction. The rudnick by and large were suckers who bought what they liked regardless of the fact their knowledge and experience were too limited to allow them to make the right choices. And their advisors were equally as challenged or just along for the ride to fill their pockets.

RK has written about our brief contact with them and we are not shy to say they knew little but thought they knew a lot. Facts prove our assessment to be the truth, and all this fluffy nonsense from that rag hali nothing but frothy whipped crme on a stale dry biscuit.

And one last time for the record the caption in the catalog for our former soumak bag, lot 6 in the rudnick sale, saying where we were from is as incorrect as the mis-statement of the year we sold it to them.

And BTW we still own the other half of the khorjin regardless of baseless rumors to the contrary.

Author: jc
Sun, Feb 26th, 2017 05:31:30 AM

RK Replies

Greetings Peter, and thanks for the comments

Might RK express some surprise at how you viewed, and acted in, the situation with Muzaffer as you have described it below.

You helped him and he knew your help was supposed to be repaid by his offering pieces to you. Then, when he didn't and the deal went south, why did you still have good feelings towards him and continue the one way "friendship".

As someone who has been in that same position as you many many times RK could never find it in our heart of heart's to still carry on relations with the other person.

Does that make you a better person than RK?

Does that make RK appear anything but forgiving and nice?

Or does that make you appear to be a door-mat Muzaffer wiped his feet on whenever he wished? And make RK into someone who, when others tried the Muzaffer act, shot them down immediately and had nothing to do with them in the future?

Seems neither of us benefitted.

RK alienated the shoe wipers and you appeased them.

Regardless the results were the same .. neither of us benefitted from helping those like Muzaffer, who put greed before honor and friendship.

We'd be interested in your take on the above.

Author: Peter Scholten Fri, Feb 24th, 2017 11:55:28 PM

Hi Jack,Muzaffer was not a mentor to me, just a friend and comrade-in-arms. Being older and more exposed to the world of collectors and their rugs, as well as to the literature, if there was any mentoring going on it was probably going the other way. I've never claimed to be an expert in any field, especially not Turkmen weavings, but I did know and had seen much more than Muzo when he first started hunting in Turkmenistan.I brought books to him and, pretty much, told him all I knew about what made a good Turkmen weaving. The idea (at least in my mind) was that we would work in partnership. He would find the pieces and I would sell them....Of course, you can imagine how long that lasted. LOL...Cheers.

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