MIAMI, Fl.- Terence Riley, Director of the Miami Art Museum, announced today that Miami Art Museum has been selected to receive a gift of fifty works of art from New York collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, with the help of the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The gifts are part of a national gifts program entitled The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States. It will distribute 2,500 works from the Vogels' collection of contemporary art throughout the nation, with fifty works going to a selected art institution in each of the fifty states. Artists whose work is being donated to Miami Art Museum include Will Barnet, Joel Fisher, Donald Sultan and Richard Tuttle.
According to Riley, The Miami Art Museum is proud to be the one museum chosen to represent the state of Florida. The gift is generous and will make a significant impact on our collection. When all fifty of the pieces arrive, we will be cataloguing and studying them, and will look forward to sharing them with the public in an exhibition as a whole within the next two years. Once we move to our new building at Museum Park, they will be rotated into our collection at large and seen and appreciated in fresh new ways. This, I believe is precisely what the Vogels want for these works, for which they have so much personal passion.
The best-known aspects of the Vogel Collection are minimal and conceptual art, but these donations also explore numerous directions of the post-minimalist period, including works of a figurative and expressionist nature. Primarily a collection of drawings, the 2,500 works the Vogels are donating also include paintings, sculptures, photographs, and prints by more than 170 contemporary artists, mainly working in the United States. Gifts to the first ten institutions were announced in the spring of 2008.
The National Endowment for the Arts is funding the publication of a book, The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, scheduled for release in November 2008. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is providing funds for the disbursal of the art (under the supervision of the National Gallery of Art) to the fifty institutions and for the development of a Web site to serve as both an information center and exhibition area for this project.
The Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art has worked closely with Dorothy and Herbert Vogel since 1991, when it acquired a portion of their collection, through partial purchase and gift from the Vogels. Since the couple formed their association with the National Gallery, the Vogels collection has continued to grow to include some 4,000 works, far more than can appropriately be placed in a single institution.
To date, the Vogels have donated 832 works to the Gallery and another 268 are promised gifts. The generosity of Dorothy and Herb has enhanced our collection of contemporary art immeasurably, said Earl A. Powell III, Gallery director. Of five wonderful wall drawings by Sol LeWitt donated by them, two are currently on view in the East Building, along with two works each by Lynda Benglis and Richard Tuttle.
Works from the collection have appeared in numerous exhibitions throughout the world, including two major exhibitions organized by the National Gallery that were selected solely from their collection. In 1994, From Minimal to Conceptual Art: Works from the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection was on view at the National Gallery of Art. It was also seen in 1997 at the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery in Austin, and the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. In 1998, the exhibition traveled abroad to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel, and the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Turku, Finland. Following its 2002 presentation in Washington, Christo and Jeanne-Claude in the Vogel Collection was on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.
The Vogels and Their Collection
The Vogel Collection has been characterized as unique among collections of contemporary art, both for the character and breadth of the objects and for the individuals who created it. Herbert Vogel (b. 1922), spent most of his working life as an employee of the United States Postal Service, and Dorothy Vogel (b. 1935), was a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. Setting their collecting priorities above those of personal comfort, the couple used Dorothys salary to cover the expenses of daily life and devoted Herberts salary to the acquisition of contemporary art. With the exception of the collection formed by their friend, artist Sol LeWitt, no other known private collection of similar work in Europe or America rivals the range, complexity, and quality of the art the Vogels acquired.
As the first collectors to buy work by many artists who were then unknown to a wide audience, the Vogels offered encouragement at the start of the careers of several figures who went on to achieve considerable acclaim. Owing to these artists continuing close relationship with the collectors, many works of art collected by the Vogels were gifts, marking special occasionssuch as Dorothy and Herberts birthdays and wedding anniversaryand often personally inscribed. In this sense the Vogels collection is a keen reflection of their friendships with artists.
Artists use of drawing as a primary medium has expanded during the years in which the Vogel Collection has been formed, and interest in drawings on the part of contemporary collectors has expanded as well. However, when the Vogels began collecting in the early 1960s, their focus on drawing was an unusual one, suggesting another aspect of their prescience. Many drawings in the collection represent an artists initial form of an idea, and others act as plans to be followed by a collaborator in the making of a work of art. This emphasis on drawings adds to the unique and intimate nature of the Vogel Collection, making their gifts an important educational tool for museums. Another educational focus of the Vogels since 1980 has been their ongoing donation of artist-related records to the Archives of American Art, Washington, DC.
We hope this will be a truly national program, and that it will make the work of the many artists we admire familiar to a wider audience. We also hope our gifts will enable museums throughout the country to represent a significant range of contemporary art, said Dorothy Vogel on behalf of the couple. Inspired by the Kress Foundations placement of old master paintings throughout the United States in the middle of the last century, the Vogels hope that their project will, as a parallel effort, enhance knowledge of the art of our time.