Herb & Dorothy is a wonderful new documentary about some unusual contemporary art collectors and 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. 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.
The Cincinnati Art Museum’s new Reel Art series kicks off with Herb & Dorothy; screenings are 7 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Individual screenings are $8, $5 for CAM members. Subscriptions to the full Reel Art series are $54 or $30 for CAM members.