Far more than rumor has it that michael black, aka Mr Park and phone bidder paddle number 001 at the Christopher Alexander sothebys sale, will be sponsoring and producing an "exhibition" of Anatolian rugs this summer out on Long Island's gold coast.
According to his emails to RK this exhibition will be at an "important" gallery and show these carpets in conjunction with Ab/ex, abstract expressionist, artworks.
This is old hat, hanging rugs next to paintings; and quite honestly has never done anything to raise the level of appreciation for early historic carpets.
The fact numerous types of 'classical carpet' are depicted in paintings, and have been shown in conjunction with them -- witness Moshe Tabibnia's recent show of the Zaleski collection in Venice -- might have been interesting in the beginning of the 20th century when carpets were still an unknown commodity. However, and since then, their representation in painting is well known and a well exercised meme.
In more recent times we can remember several "shows" done in the 1990's and 2000's where carpets were paired with contemporary art, probably herbert osler in Munich, Germany was the first to hang such an exhibition. This, too, is in our estimation a meaningless endeavor.
First, simply put showing a carpet next to a painting where neither one has anything to do with the other besides some vague relationship of 'design or color' proves nothing about either. Nor does it forward any understanding of either, particularly the carpet.
Trying to make any case the weaver of the carpet and the painter were motivated by, and instructed by, the same perceptions and stimulus in producing their artworks is as tenuous and flawed as believing a cloud that looks like George Washington's face is a picture of his face. It is coincidence in both cases, there is no genuine underlying cultural or motivational relationship. But we are sure this will not stop a salesman and promoter like michael black, nor did it others who have made such unprovable claims to the contrary.
Secondly, and just as important, trying to raise the 'lowly' carpet -- let's face facts carpets are not nearly as appreciated or valued by the art world as a painting -- by putting it next to an 'admired'painting by a famous and 'important' artist has never worked, and it will not ever work.
Yes, carpets represented in old master paintings did provide important dating information, but visually pairing them has never proven anything other than a parlor game equal to using a oujji board to date them.
After having had extensive email and phone contact with black we learned quite alot about his knowledge of carpets and his plan for the ones he is now buying, and bought in the past.
We can positively say he doesn't have a clue. He does, however, have one about how to make business and money with them.
This foray into carpet buying is nothing more than a commercial enterprise, his desires to acquire them nothing more than any rug dealer who buys to sell, not to collect by any means.
So let's all welcome michael black to the carpet world but please do not think he is a collector. In his own words he is " a poseur and decorator ".
By the way, RK sees nothing wrong with this. Though that said we seriously wonder what black will say about the seriously over-dated, over-rated and over-priced rugs he has purchased when he does his big show.
It also need to be mentioned once again that, like Christopher Alexander, michael black knows nothing about the complicated and intricate historic weaving cultures that produced carpets, nothing about the technical aspects of their production, and nothing about how to judge them in respect to those and other criteria.
His eye, black believes and according to him, is all that he needs.
Funny, but that is the same rational used by Alexander, whose collection besides a few masterpiece weavings was full of second and third rate examples. Many of those are now in black's hands and it will be just as obvious, as Alexander's failure to do so, when black tries to elevate them past the mediocre and unimportant level they actually have in the larger universe of early and historic masterpiece Anatolian village weavings.