Dorothy Vogel and Herbert with cats in front of fish and turtle tanks. Photograph by John Dominis



The Collection Goes Public

About 1970, increasing numbers of artists started asking the Vogels to see the collection. Within a very short period of time word spread, leading to visits from international museum professionals—from Europe at first, particularly Belgium, Germany, and Holland.

From mid-April through mid-May 1975, the first Vogel collection exhibition, Selections from the Collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, emphasizing minimal and conceptual art, was installed in Manhattan at the Clocktower Gallery. Later that year, a larger but similarly focused show, Painting, Drawing and Sculpture of the ’60s and the ’70s from the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection, premiered at Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) with over 200 of approximately 500 works then in the collection.

In an effort to correct the already commonly held misconception that the Vogel collection consisted entirely of the minimal and conceptual art shown in the Clocktower and ICA shows, Bret Waller, director of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, selected a more diverse group of artists in 1977 for Works from the Collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, including post-minimalists such as John Torreano and Judy Rifka. Yet even today, the public continues to associate the Vogel collection with minimal and conceptual practice.

Exhibitions continued through the 1980s, including the 20th Anniversary Exhibition of the Vogel Collection, organized in 1982 by the Brainerd Art Gallery at the State University College of Arts and Science in Potsdam, New York. Drawings from the Collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1986, celebrated works on paper and the catalogue was the most substantial publication about the collection to that date. The decade closed with From the Collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, which was organized by the Arnot Art Museum in Dorothy’s hometown of Elmira in 1988 and which traveled to four additional venues. By this time the Vogels and their collection had been featured in many mass-media publications, including New York and People magazines. And they were frequent participants in lecture series and panel discussions about collecting contemporary art.