03 March 2009

Herb & Dorothy

Two of the world's most prolific art collectors are perhaps two of the most unsuspecting characters you could imagine. In contrast to last week's Sale of the Century of Yves Saint Laurent's collection, one of the art world's most humble legacies is the subject of a new documentary. Starting in the 1960s, Herb and Dorothy Vogel began accumulating one of the most important contemporary art collections of our time in their one bedroom Manhattan apartment. Living off Dorothy's modest wages as a librarian, the two used Herb's salary as a postal worker to purchase affordable art from the emerging minimal and conceptual artists of the New York art scene. These unlikely art patrons quietly amassed over 4,000 works of art, many of which appreciated, making their collection worth well over a million dollars. The pair then donated their entire collection to the National Gallery of Art in 1993.

What seems most interesting is the way this modest pair expresses their affection for the art. Despite their impressive collection and high profile amongst the art community, Jian Ghomeshi points out that they aren't particularly sophisticated or elegant in the way they articulate why the art is important to them. Herb simply states "It's beautiful." This seems to bypass the intellectual static we constantly inflict on our opinions and feelings towards arts and culture. It just gets in the way. Herb and Dorothy experience art through their eyes where it goes directly to their heart. Bypass the brain. It's okay.

Director and producer Megumi Sasaki debuted her documentary Herb and Dorothy at the Reel Artists Film Festival on March 1st. She spoke with Jian Ghomeshi live in studio Q on the Thursday February 26th edition of Q the podcast.

Click HERE to watch the trailer

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