By Jed Lipinski
Herb Vogel never earned more than $23,000 a year. Born and raised in Harlem, Vogel worked for the post office in Manhattan. He spent nearly 50 years living in a 450-square-foot one-bedroom apartment with his wife, Dorothy, a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. They lived frugally. They didn’t travel. They ate TV dinners. Aside from a menagerie of pets, Herb and Dorothy had just one indulgence: art. But their passion for collecting turned them into unlikely celebrities, working-class heroes in a world of Manhattan elites.
While their coworkers had no idea, the press noticed. The New York Times labeled the Vogels the “In Couple” of New York City. They counted minimalist masters Richard Tuttle and Donald Judd among their close friends. And in just four decades, they assembled one of the most important private art collections of the 20th century, stocking their tiny apartment floor-to-ceiling with Chuck Close sketches, paintings by Roy Lichtenstein, and sculptures by Andy Goldsworthy. Today, more than 1,000 of the works they purchased are housed in the National Gallery, a collection a curator there calls “literally priceless.” J. Carter Brown, the museum’s former director, referred to the collection as “a work of art in itself.”
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There was a lot of talk last week of the sculptures by artist Timothy Schmalz when his sculpture “Jesus the Homeless” was blessed by the Pope on November 20th. Prior to that, he couldn’t get any church to display the sculptures. But of course, since the artist and his work got recognition by the Pope, someone has decided that the sculpture (a resin version) may be worth something.
It’s sad that an artist’s work only has value once someone says it has. The art hasn’t changed, just the perception.
For the article, please click here.
This site was created because of a piece of art I made. I created a tile (or rather two) of the QR code for this site. The general idea was that people are so fixated on their devices that even at an art show they would be driven to scan a QR code to see what was behind it.
So the irony would be that they would be at an art show, looking at a picture about people looking at their phones while in a gallery, while they were doing the exact same thing. Sort of fell flat though, as no one scanned the QR code. It would also be a continuing piece of art while I updated this site just for them. The tiles are available for sale.
The illustration above was done by my clever illustrator friend, Kevin Frank. I asked him for a drawing about this subject and he came up with a dozen ideas. This one was exactly what I was striving for.