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Albright-Knox Art Gallery Will Exhibit Fifty Works for Fifty States: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection

January 4, 2010

Buffalo, NY – The Albright-Knox Art Gallery continues to be recognized as a place to leave art for care and conservation for future generations. In January, audiences will have the opportunity to view the latest gift in an exhibition entitled Fifty Works for Fifty States: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection. These fifty works will be added to the Gallery’s Permanent Collection, which since 2005 has benefited from generous gifts from both the Natalie and Irving Forman Collection (more than three hundred works), and the Panza Collection (seventy-one works).

On January 22, Western New Yorkers will have their first opportunity to view these additions to the Permanent Collection and celebrate this extraordinary gift. The gift will broaden and deepen the collection, bringing new artists such as Richard Tuttle, Koki Doktori, and Edda Renouf, while also adding works by Larry Poons, Lynda Benglis, and Richard Artschwager.

In October 2008, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery was the only museum in the state of New York selected to receive a gift of fifty works of contemporary art from collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, with the help of the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This extraordinary gift to the Albright-Knox is part of a national gifts program entitled The Fifty Works for Fifty States: The Dorothy and Herbert VogelCollection, which will distribute 2,500 works from the Vogels’ collection throughout the nation, with fifty works going to a single art institution in each of the fifty states.

The Albright-Knox was selected to represent the state of New York by the Vogels in consultation with Ruth Fine, Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery, who commented, “The Vogels have lent to the Albright-Knox with great pleasure in the past. For this reason, and because of the Albright-Knox’s importance as an educational and cultural institution in your region, the Vogels have chosen your institution to represent New York.”

The Vogels began amassing this extraordinary collection of some four thousand works of art in the early 1960s in New York. Although of modest means—Herbert Vogel spent most of his working life as an employee of the United States Postal Service while Dorothy Vogel was a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library—the couple used Dorothy’s salary to cover the expenses of daily life while devoting Herbert’s salary to the acquisition of contemporary art. They focused their collecting on younger artists, especially on Minimal and Conceptual art, and preferred to buy pieces they could take home with them on the subway. Many of the works in the collection are drawings, which attracted the Vogels not only because they were more affordable and often smaller in scale, but also more immediate. As Mrs. Vogel has explained, “The artist’s hand is in them, the ideas are there.”

The Vogels began donating their Collection to the National Gallery of Art in 1991. Since that time, the National Gallery has acquired more than one thousand of these works. However, as time passed, it became increasingly apparent to the Vogels that their holdings were so vast that their agreement with the National Gallery would be best accomplished by allowing other museums in the United States to share the collection. Thus was born the idea to distribute fifty works representative of the Vogel Collection to one museum in each of the fifty states.

Because the best-known aspect of the Vogels’ collecting focus is Minimal and Conceptual art, this remarkable gift fits perfectly into the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection. The Albright-Knox joins the Vogels in the hope that this project will enhance the knowledge and appreciation of the art of our time.

On January 22, during the Gallery’s free Friday program, Gusto at the Gallery, special programming will celebrate the extraordinary gift and the exhibition opening. The exhibition will be on view through April 25, 2010, in the Albright-Knox’s Clifton Hall Link.

THE DOROTHY AND HERBERT VOGEL COLLECTION: FIFTY WORKS FOR FIFTY STATES is a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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