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Collected Thoughts: Works from the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection Opens
Looped Line Torn Zone by Robert Mangold, 1999, Materials pastel, pencil, acrylic, and collage on paper, Dimensions 22 1/2 x 37 5/8 in. (3 attached pieces). Indianapolis Museum of Art, The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Accession number 2008.300.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The Indianapolis Museum of Art presents today Collected Thoughts: Works from the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection, on view through April 12, 2009 in the IMA’s McCormack Forefront Galleries. The exhibition will showcase 50 works of contemporary art recently donated to the Museum by New York-based collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, who famously amassed one of the most complex private collections of contemporary art with only a modest budget.

Collected Thoughts is the first museum exhibition to present works from the national gift program “The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States.” The gifts to the IMA are among 2,500 works from the Vogel Collection being distributed throughout the nation by the program. With the help of the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the program will distribute 50 works to a selected art institution in each of the 50 states. The IMA exhibition will offer a one-time-only opportunity to see all 50 works together. When the show closes, the Vogel gifts will be displayed in the context of the Museum’s larger collection. The exhibition is sponsored by The Penrod Society.

New York collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel began to collect contemporary artwork in the early 1960s and amassed a rare and insightful collection of more than 4,000 works by 170 contemporary artists over a period of more than 40 years. By using Dorothy’s salary as a librarian to pay bills, the Vogels were able to devote Herbert’s earnings as a postal worker to the purchase of art. Complementing the IMA’s holdings in abstract and minimalist works from the 1960s, the gifts to the Museum from the Vogel Collection include primarily works on paper from the late 1960s to 2000, by artists such as Lynda Benglis, James Bishop, Robert Mangold, Elizabeth Murray, Edda Renouf and Richard Tuttle, among others.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate the arrival of this remarkable collection at the IMA through the exhibition Collected Thoughts,” said Sarah Urist Green, assistant curator of contemporary art at the IMA. “The Vogels’ love of art and dedication to artists will be strongly evident in this exhibition, giving us a rare glimpse into their innovative approach to collecting.”

On December 11, 2008, the Vogels will visit the Museum for a public screening of the new documentary film “Herb and Dorothy,” recent "Best Documentary" winner at the 2008 Hamptons Film Festival, in the Tobias Theater at 6:30 p.m. The screening will be followed by a brief Q&A with the Vogels in the Tobias Theater and a cocktail reception in Pulliam Great Hall beginning at 8 p.m.

About 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. 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 occasions such as Dorothy and Herbert’s birthdays and wedding anniversary—and often personally inscribed. In this sense the Vogels’ collection is a keen reflection of their friendship 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 artist’s 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, D.C.

About the National Gift Program “The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States”

In 1991, the Vogels began transferring their collection from their three-room Manhattan apartment to the National Gallery of Art to ensure the works would be both properly conserved and made available to the public. In early 2008, the National Gallery announced that it would, in turn, give 50 works from the Vogel Collection to one museum in each of the 50 states—2,500 pieces in all—through a program dubbed “The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States.” The IMA was one of the first 10 institutions selected as part of the gift program.

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 10 institutions were announced in spring 2008. A complete list of museums is available at More information about the Vogel collection is available at, a special exhibition Web site created by the National Gallery of Art.

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