Friday, October 1, 2010

Herb & Dorothy

I just noticed that the excellent and inspiring documentary, Herb & Dorothy, is available now in the "watch instantly" section on Netflix, and I recommend it to anyone who loves art.
As you can see from the poster, this documentary tells the story of how Herb Vogel, a postal worker, and his wife Dorothy, a librarian, managed to amass one of the most important collections of modern art (over 4,000 paintings, sculptures, and other works) on very modest means. Most of the collection was housed for a long time in their tiny one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. The scope and scale of their collection is mind-boggling, works by Chuck Close, Christo, Sol Lewitt, Eva Hesse, Marcel Duchamp, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Cindy Sherman, Donald Judd, Jeff Koons, Claes Oldenburg, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Tuttle, Brice Marden, Pat Steir, the list goes on and on and on. See what I mean?

In 1992, they decided to donate the entire collection (then over 2,000 works) to the National Gallery of Art in DC. However, the National Gallery could only absorb 1,000 pieces. So, the Vogels launched a national gift program to donate 50 works to a museum in each of the 50 states (the subject of a follow-up documentary currently in the works).

The Vogels are so enthusiastic and passionate about art; it's infectious. Not to mention, they are funny and cute, quirky and interesting, all the qualities that make for great documentary subjects. I want to be just like the Vogels when I grow up, with the hoarder-style apartment crammed full of art and animals and everything.

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