01/02/2018 - 04/22/2018
Art Museum of South Texas, Affiliated with TAMU-CC
We are very fortunate to be hosting The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: 50 Works for 50 States from the Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin. The Blanton Museum of Art was bestowed a wonderful gift from a couple who took a cue from the Kress Collection and donated most of their collection of minimal, post-minimal and conceptual art, to the benefit of all Americans and visitors to American museums. The art in the Vogel collection eventually reached 4,782 works. The Vogels were annually recognized by the fine art industry in the international publication, Art News, from 1990 through 2000 as being among the the top 200 art collectors in the world. This particular gift to the Blanton includes 25 artists.
It all began in earnest when Herb and Dorothy married in 1962. For the next 50 years, they dedicated Herb’s salary from the United States Postal Service toward buying art, and Dorothy’s salary as a librarian covered their living expenses, including their one bedroom rent-controlled apartment they shared with turtles, cats, and fish. They lived with their growing collection for 50 years within the confines of their small apartment. They displayed the art, stored the art, but never sold the art.
The collection mainly focused on conceptual and minimalist art as it occurred, rather than after the movement gained recognition. The Vogel’s criteria for collecting art was two-fold. First, they had to “like” the artwork, and second, it had to be possible to transport the artwork home on the subway or in a taxi. In order to stay on the forefront of the art world, the couple attended as many as 25 gallery openings in a week, or visited studios of artists befriended or collected. As their friendships with artists developed, the Vogel’s collection added multiple pieces by certain artists. As a result, the Vogels were able to include a piece by these select few artists in each of the 50 gifts donated to 50 American art museums. Richard Tuttle is one such artist. Tuttle remembers the Vogels fondly, “Most of us go through the world never seeing anything, then you meet somebody like Herb and Dorothy, who have eyes that see. Something goes from the eye to the soul without going through the brain.”
After 2012 Herb died in a NYC nursing home, Dorothy continues to cherish his memory, not only by living with the art they collected, but by also fulfilling the dream she had with Herb to place their collection into 50 museums across the country through the project 50 Works for 50 States. We are grateful for the ability to share this work from the Blanton. Through the Vogel’s story we learn how much art may be a part of life in a meaningful way, involving sacrifice, pure passion, and curiosity.
Filmmaker Megumi Sasaki has made two documentaries about the couple and their collection. The first, Herb and Dorothy, was released in 2008. The second film, Herb and Dorothy 50 X 50, was completed in 2013. The Museum will show these films during the exhibition both in the community and in the AMST H-E-B Theater. Check the AMST calendar, social media, and website calendar for screening dates.