Herb & Dorothy (Review)

Wonderful documentary highlights art-collecting couple

Sep 4, 2009 at 2:06 pm

This wonderful new documentary, which is about some unusual contemporary art collectors, has broad human-interest appeal because of its affectionate yet inquisitive look at what makes people want to live with art and seek to acquire the best they can find. It’s also a profoundly patriotic and pro-American government movie, perfect for Labor Day.

Directed by Megumi Sasaki, it’s a portrait of Herb and Dorothy Vogel, New Yorkers of modest income — he a postal clerk, she a librarian — who decided to put all their available money into buying art. They are not naifs; they have sophisticated, informed tastes. But they aren’t rich — they live in a suitably modest apartment that soon becomes overrun with world-class art. They become familiar supporters to many of the struggling post-Pop, Minimalist and Conceptual artists just building their reputations: Sol LeWitt, Vito Acconci, Lawrence Weiner, Chuck Close, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Christo and his wife Jean-Claude and many, many more.

Eventually, they give their art to the National Gallery in Washington as a way of giving back to the government and American people. And they're still collecting! Grade: A

T he Cincinnati Art Museum’s new REEL ART series kicks off with Herb & Dorothy. Screenings are 7 p.m. Sept. 4 and 1 p.m. Sept. 6. Get details on the screenings and CAM's film series here.