A Tale of Two Art Collectors

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Head to the IFC Center by Sept. 24 to see the story of how Herb and Dorothy Vogel amassed a multi-million dollar art collection from their working class incomes as a librarian at Brooklyn Public Library and a postal worker, then decided to give it all away to art institutions across the country in a new doc about the avid art collectors. Photo: IFC.

By today’s reality TV standards, Herb and Dorothy Vogel are hoarders–who happened to have collected some 4,000 pieces of contemporary art (along with 17 turtles and multiple house cats), which they stored in their one bedroom apartment in the city for decades. Their stockpile wound up being worth millions of dollars–the artwork not the animals–all of which was bought on a postal worker’s salary and donated to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in the early ’90s. In 2008, the art collecting couple announced that they’d amassed too much art for even the National Gallery to contain, and had decided to spread the love by giving 50 pieces from their collection to each state. It is an epic, altruistic story that unfolds in a new documentary–Herb & Dorothy 50×50. The film, directed by Megumi Sasaki, is the follow up to her original documentary on the couple–Dorothy, a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library, whose income went to supporting the couple, and Herb, who died last year, and whose income went to buying art. The sequel to their story is currently playing at the IFC Center, but if you want to see how it ends, we suggest getting your tickets now before its run closes on Sept. 24.

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