Sunday, June 28, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Collectors

HERB & DOROTHY tells the extraordinary story of Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy Vogel quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Devoting all of Herb's salary to purchase art they liked, and living on Dorothy's paycheck alone, they continued collecting artworks guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Within these limitations, they proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists including Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi, and Lawrence Weiner. 

After thirty years of meticulous collecting and buying, the Vogels managed to accumulate over 2,000 pieces, filling every corner of their tiny one bedroom apartment. "Not even a toothpick could be squeezed into the apartment," recalls Dorothy. In 1992, the Vogels decided to move their entire collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The vast majority of their collection was given as a gift to the institution. Many of the works they acquired appreciated so significantly over the years that their collection today is worth millions of dollars. Still, the Vogels never sold a single piece. Today Herb and Dorothy still live in the same apartment in New York with 19 turtles, lots of fish, and one cat. They've refilled it with piles of new art they've acquired. 

HERB & DOROTHY is directed by first time filmmaker Megumi Sasaki. The film received the Golden Starfish Award for the Best Documentary Film and Audience Award from the 2008 Hamptons International Film Festival. It has also received Audience Awards from the 2008 SILVERDOCS Film Festival and the 2009 Philadelphia Cinefest. Palm Springs International Film Festival named HERB & DOROTHY one of their "Best of Fest" films in 2009.

Text from Herb & Dorothy

Monday, June 22, 2009

Henrique Oliveira and The Art of Visual Poetics

I discovered Henrique Oliveira through a blog I frequent called Grid Impact from a friend of mine here in Heidelberg. Oliveira had his first solo show at the Rice University Gallery in Houston, Texas in March. He uses salvaged wood from the streets of São Paolo where he lives and works to create these incredibly moving instillations. I highly recommend a trip to his website which is in a word 'mind-blowing'. As a gallerist, I would fight to represent this man! Thanks to Clair at Grid Impact who also runs a creative consulting firm for the tip!

The Eye of Engman

There is something so special about how artist Camilla Engman sees the world. She is one of the people who's shoes I would love to walk in for just a few days! Thanks to Camilla for posting these lovely reminders of the natural progression of things. She is a master at capturing the seasons in their most stunning moments. This post is a little personal indulgence and a soothing one at that! 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Curatorial Heroin's

What, How and for Whom is a curatorial collective formed in Zagreb in 1999 by four woman who decided to get to the heart of cultural and artistic projection and its motives.  They have been asked to curate the Istanbul Biennial this year and have chosen a rather prevalent theme under the title 'What Keeps Mankind Alive', a lyric from Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera. Given the fact that this question may be more relevant to us today than it was when Brecht wrote it 80 years ago, it is absolutely refreshing to see curators deal with such potent social and economic issues head on. WHW introduced their conceptual framework for the Biennial with a performance enacted by themselves as opposed to the traditional press conference format. Some of the questions being asked this year pertain to our systems of value under capitalism, ways of action, artistic production and understanding. The Biennial takes place from September 12 - November 8.