Retired clerk and librarian distribute 2,500 works

Collection will go to 50 museums

NEW YORK. Collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, a retired postal clerk and librarian, have announced plans to distribute 2,500 works from their collection of minimal and conceptual art as gifts to 50 museums and galleries in 50 states. Ten institutions have already been named and are to receive works in the coming months. The remainder will be announced later this year and in 2009.

Inspired by the Kress Collection, which placed its holdings of old master paintings in multiple institutions throughout the country between 1929 and 1961, the Vogels decided to do the same, since no single institution could display all the works in their collection.

The programme has been organised through the National Gallery of Art, which received a major gift from the Vogels in 1992. The National Endowment for the Arts is funding a catalogue of the collection, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services will pay for the transport of the works and is sponsoring a website.

The ten museums chosen to receive the first gifts include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Harvard University Art Museums, the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin and the Seattle Art Museum. Each museum must agree to display the works within five years, and that the gift will only be transferred to another institution as a group. No works can be sold.

The Vogels began collecting in 1962, spending all Herbert’s civil servant salary to buy art, while living off Dorothy’s salary from the Brooklyn Public Library. The collection now consists of works by 170 artists including Will Barnet, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, and Richard Tuttle, among others. Lauren Jones

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