Lately a strange numbness has entered into everything. Nothing will really sink in, everything hazy, feeling like there’s a blanket between me and the world: my fingertips never contacting anything. Nothing. Listening to the most intense music I can find, blasting, and still nothing. so dull. so gray. no changes. no thing.
during my shift I got to walk through our brand new exhibition: 50 x 50. I’ve been anticipating this collection since September probably a little more than normal/necessary. 50 x 50 is a tiny fraction of the infamous Herbert and Dorothy Vogel collection. I remember reading about these two in one of my art history classes and being so intrigued by the two.
Dorothy was a librarian and Herbert a postman (I say "was" because they’ve since retired—they’re still very much alive). The two met and fell in love in Manhattan in the mid 1960s. I love that Herbert says what attracted him to Dorothy was that she looked smart (not just attractive). They ended up falling in love with art just as much as they fell in love with each other. They took classes and tried painting in the popular expressionist method but soon realized that they preferred contemporary artists’ work more than theirs and decided to become collectors. They lived on Dorothy’s salary from the library and used all of Herbert’s for the sole purpose of collecting art.
Since abstract expressionist art was all the rage it was rather expensive and out of their price range so they opted to begin collecting art that really wasn’t catching the public’s eye yet: minimalist and conceptual. Their obsessive and distinct eye became rapidly well-known among the minimalist artist crowd. Since 1967 they’ve collected well over 5,000 works. They kept all of their art in their one bedroom Manhattan apartment until the mid 90s when the National Gallery approached them with an offer to keep their collection in D.C. The Vogels loved the idea knowing their art would have the chance to be seen by anyone and everyone visiting the free gallery. So, they donated all 5,000+ pieces (which took 5 LARGE moving trucks to transport) and then instead of finally buying a couch kept collecting.
Now they’ve donated fifty pieces to fifty museums—one museum for each state. Art for the masses. I love it. Well, I got to experience a slice of it today. Walking to gallery 2 in my numbed, glassy-eyed state, I rounded the corner and there to my left was this large Ronnie Landfield acrylic piece that quite literally took the breath right out of me. It was like a punch in the gut. I’d seen pictures but NOTHING could do this piece justice. I still don’t know what it was that finally forced emotion out of me with this piece. It felt real. Finally, something felt real. I stood there with eyes almost tearing up in front of this beautiful piece of art and I fell in love with the world again.
I remembered why I love art with my soul. Why it makes sense. Why I have to create. Why I need inspiration. We feel because we are real.