The Collectors: Herb and Dorothy Vogal to Dr. Albert Barnes

August 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

My weekend Netflix Instant Play Party continues!!!


Saturday started with Herb and Dorothy. A documentary that tells the story of a postal clerk and a librarian who managed, with very modest means, to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history. This is how it worked: Dorothy’s salary was for rent, bills, and food and Herb’s salary was for buying art. !!! They had two requirements when purchasing art: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. It’s such a fantastic story of the Vogal’s shared passion and commitment that redefined what it means to be an art collector. I wonder if I could build one of the most important collections of “something” on my salary? Hmmmm?


Sunday I popped in The Art of the Steal. Another documentary that follows the struggle for control of Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ 25 billion dollar collection of modern and post-impressionist art. Barnes was an unusual collector. First, he displayed the collection in a way that expressed his own aesthetic vision rather than grouping canvases by artist or era as in a typical gallery. You might find a Picasso displayed next to an African mask. Second, he restricted attendance to the gallery because he was more concerned with educating serious students in his vision than reaching tourists. Third, he refused to loan paintings to other institutions.

Hurry and visit the Barnes collection in its original setting – at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania. It is scheduled to move to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2012.

So, who wants to organize a trip to Merion this summer?


MoMA | Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today

August 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today
August 1–November 1, 2010

Walking through MoMA’s Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture exhibit, I sensed a little deja vu. There was a shared narrative with the Julius Shulman documentary I saw the weekend prior: the intersections between photography and sculpture, exploring how the one medium has become implicated in the understanding of the other. Looking at the ways in which photography informs and challenges our understanding of sculpture.

Some pieces that stood out for me were:
Marcel Duchamp’s Box in a valise 1935–41 (From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy).
Leather valise containing miniature replicas, photographs, color reproductions of works by Duchamp, and one “original” drawing.

Brancusi’s groupes mobiles
Brancusi asked “Why write?” ~ “Why not just show the photographs?” The sculptor photographed combinations of his work in his studio as groupes mobiles (mobile groups).

Lee Friedlander’s Mount Rushmore. South Dakota. 1969

Larry Fink’s The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Costume Ball. December 1995.

Ann Hamilton’s phora 8. 2005
Inkjet print, 33 3/4 x 46 1/4″

Note: All images are from

Related Event:
The Original Copy: A Panel Discussion on Photography and Sculpture
Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 6:00 p.m.
More details
This panel discussion is moderated by Roxana Marcoci, curator of the exhibition, The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today. Panelists include George Baker, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art and Vice Chair, UCLA Department of Art History; Mark Godfrey, Curator, Tate Modern; Sarah Hamill, Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, Oberlin College; and Rachel Harrison, artist.

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