It’s not the Oscars. I know that many of you are sad to see the passing of award’s season. Most of us however are so far removed from the rarefied and ephemeral world of celebrity that we have never even considered, if only in the remotest sense, that we have any chance of winning an Emmy, or a Grammy, or an Oscar or a Tony, or like Tracy Jordan the much more elusive EGOT. In its stead we labour relentlessly to make great carpets with the ultimate prize being a satisfied client/customer and the close of a sale.
Of course it is true that both Domotex and ORIA (in conjunction with the much maligned by me AmericasMart) both present awards for “Best of….” and I myself have written about the best of something as well (notice the subtle shameless plug). These awards and distinctions honour what should be honoured; that is superior achievement. Like the Nobel Prize, but with less money, press coverage, and one could argue prestige. Dubious achievement is likewise rewarded by the Ignobel, and with that….
Ladies and Gentleman, Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames et Messieurs (if you are reading this on NBC they edit out foreign language, just ask them about the Olympics) I am pleased to announce the creation of “The Ruggist’s Award for Dubious Achievement in the Carpet Arts” also known more colloquially as “The Ghastly”. As the name implies, the prize acknowledges and rewards the company or individual who has worked to improve the world of rugs through innovation (of any form) that is of an uncertain, unclear or questionable nature.
The inaugural winner will receive (should they choose to contact me to claim the prize) the meticulously crafted trophy consisting of something I’ve yet to create bearing “The Ruggist” logo and badge along with the inscription: “De gustibus non est disputandum” – roughly translated to “There is no disputing about tastes.” or “There is no accounting for taste.”
So without further adieu I present the err um “Carpet” that has won.
‘Barenjager (Bear Hunter)’ by Lise Lefebvre (2009)
This was brought to my attention by my good friend who writes the blog Bacon Gravy. She first spotted it on Apartment Therapy. Some quick digging on the site reveals the object of distinction is an art piece created by Lise Lefebvre (2009) and entitled ‘Barenjager (Bear Hunter)’. It is currently being offered by the 360see Gallery in Chicago. On the site you will also find that Ms. Lefebvre has previously created a similar piece from an old Dutch blanket. Unfortunately for her the Ghastly is only award for carpets and rugs.
Art for the sake of art.
I feel compelled to write an endless number of jokes about this piece, but then again in debating that I am also compelled to somehow justify this piece, and in the end that is exactly what it is: A piece. “Of what?” you may ask, and that is a very good question. It is a piece or work of art, and as that, it undoubtably succeeds. It causes us to think, to question, to comment and to be uncomfortable. It does what art is supposed to do. As a carpet (and how it is judged for “The Ghastly”) it fails miserably and has thus succeeding in wining as it were.
I am not certain exactly how offensive this is as a carpet. How many bears are up in arms that the honour of their fallen brethren who grace innumerable cottage and cabin floors has now been disgraced? How many skilled artisan weavers are up in arms seeing the destruction of what was presumably an at least serviceable carpet? How many rug commentators are rambling on about something so trivial? Just like the Tootsie Roll Pop, the world may never know.
After seeing Barenjager I feel as though it is the morning after an all night bender with the sweet honey liquor of the same name. And while the pulsing nausea inducing headache is the same, I do not have joy of the memories of the drunken escapades, nor will a greasy breakfast help. No dear readers, it is not going to be that kind of day.
Could there be any other conclusion?
This is an epic failure as a carpet, but it does cause us to think about juxtaposition and how we can innovate our perhaps tired designs and techniques. How to take what we know and make it succeed by being relevant today. I strongly believe in combining the old with the new, but as with all things, it is in the execution. I cannot get the vision of an elegant madder red persian bear wondering the woods, being shot and turned into a floor covering, out of my head. The picture of that, as it is said, is worth a thousand words, and that particular picture tells you a thousand times over: “No!”