By that I mean, they have the ability to drive me to the brink of tears just by existing.
Granted, I was feeling extra-raw on what would have been my grandparents’ 69th wedding anniversary. But as I walked to an appointment that day, it seemed I saw wrinkled faces and slow shuffles all around me. Like this couple, all dressed up (pantyhose, jacket and tie, the works) and probably coming or going from someplace like the library. You know how people of a certain generation are about dressing properly to leave the house.
At one point, walking down the street, I noticed an old man looking out the window. I looked away. Then I stopped, walked back a couple of steps, and waved at him with a huge smile on my face. He beamed back at me and waved frantically. As I moved on, I wished I had at least taken off my sunglasses so he could see my eyes. I also wished I’d taken his picture, but then considered that not every special thing in life need be documented. (I passed the same building again the next day, and felt exceedingly upset that the old man wasn’t in the window.)
Then I happened upon this scene, which just about provoked a full rush of tears:
The hand-holding is what killed me.
Turns out this was a private screening of Herb & Dorothy, an award-winning documentary which opens tomorrow:
HERB & DOROTHY tells the extraordinary story of Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy Vogel quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Devoting all of Herb’s salary to purchase art they liked, and living on Dorothy’s paycheck alone, they continued collecting artworks guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Within these limitations, they proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists including Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi, and Lawrence Weiner.
After thirty years of meticulous collecting and buying, the Vogels managed to accumulate over 2,000 pieces, filling every corner of their tiny one bedroom apartment. “Not even a toothpick could be squeezed into the apartment,” recalls Dorothy. In 1992, the Vogels decided to move their entire collection to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The vast majority of their collection was given as a gift to the institution. Many of the works they acquired appreciated so significantly over the years that their collection today is worth millions of dollars. Still, the Vogels never sold a single piece.
Of course, I’ll be first in line tomorrow for my seat to view this one, with a big wad of Kleenex stuffed in my bag. Old people, they just get to me.
Filed under: Life