Megumi Sasaki’s portrait of a modest pair of art collectors premiered at Silverdocs in 2008, picking up an audience award. Additional awards were picked up at Provincetown, Philadelphia, and Hamptons during its popular festival run.
If you saw them on the street, Herb and Dorothy Vogel would probably just look like an ordinary older NYC couple. He worked as a postal clerk, while she worked as a librarian. What wasn’t apparent on the surface is that their one-bedroom apartment was stuffed to the gills with a most remarkable collection of contemporary art, quietly amassed, piece by piece, since the early 1960s, using Herb’s salary while they lived on Dorothy’s. Limited only by a sense that the work should be affordable – given their modest means – and that it should fit in their apartment – ever practical – the Vogels were amongst the earliest collectors of some of the now-acknowledged masters of minimalist and conceptual art. Filmmaker Sasaki tells the Vogels story, hearing not only from the couple as they reflect on their collection and the New York art scene of the past four decades, but also from artists such as Chuck Close and Christo, curators, and art historians who make it clear that the Vogels have a discerning aesthetic sense. There’s a natural warmth to the film, matching the couple’s rapport with one another borne out of a long life together, and a charming aspirational sense imparted that art should be and can be open to anyone to appreciate and collect.
Sadly, Herb passed away this July, but his legacy will live on in Sasaki’s upcoming follow up project, HERB & DOROTHY 50X50, an exploration of the Vogel Collection and their plan to gift fifty pieces of art to a museum in each state – a staggering 2500 works out of the more than 4700 they’ve collected. Both Megumi Sasaki and Dorothy Vogel will be on hand at the screening for a Q&A session.