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Herbert Vogel

Herbert and Dorothy Vogel at home in New York City, from “Herb & Dorothy,” a 2009 Arthouse Films Release.

The beloved art collector Herbert Vogel passed away yesterday at 89 years old. Herb and his wife Dorothy amassed an unprecedented collection of contemporary art with their modest incomes in public service. The couple married in 1962, and the five decades they shared were shaped by their passionate pursuit for the acquisition and understanding of the most innovative art of their time.

Herb and Dorothy developed personal connections with artists through frequent studio visits and rigorous conversations. Through these friendships, they were often able to acquire works at significantly discounted prices or on payment plans, sometimes as little as $10 a month. It’s frequently mentioned that Herb and Dorothy collected intuitively, without much thought about how individual pieces would fit into their collection. Over the years, every surface of their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment became a place for displaying art, and when the walls and ceilings were covered, large storage crates displaced their living room furniture.

The Vogels’ bedroom with works by Leo Valledor, Gary Stephan, Richard Tuttle, Robert Mangold, Alan Saret, Ron Gorchov, Joseph Kosuth, Vito Acconci, Joseph Beuys, and Peter Hutchinson, among others, c. 1975. Photographer unknown.

As they aged, Herb and Dorothy began to think about the future of their unique collection, and the pair entered into a partnership with the National Gallery of Art. Due the astounding size of their collection, which had grown to include roughly 4000 works, the National Gallery of Art launched the program “Fifty Works for Fifty States,” which dispersed 2500 artworks to public collections across the country. One museum in each state was chosen by Herb and Dorothy to receive 50 carefully selected works that accentuated the permanent collection of the institution. The IMA was honored to accept these gifts—including works by Lynda Benglis, Robert Mangold, Edda Renouf, and Richard Tuttle—which were displayed in the 2008 exhibition titled Collected Thoughts.

Many in Indianapolis had the pleasure of getting to know Herb. Works from their collection were featured in the 1993 exhibition The Poetry of Form: Richard Tuttle Drawings from the Vogel Collection, and in 2003 the couple participated in a public conversation with former IMA director Bret Waller. I was fortunate to meet Herb and Dorothy when they attended the opening of Collected Thoughts.  As a junior in college and a new intern at the IMA, I found their quiet dedication deeply inspiring, especially at a time when I was grappling with the practicalities of an uncertain future in the arts during a recession. My conversation with the Vogels was incredibly brief (I was one in a long line of people waiting to meet them), and I didn’t mention my trepidation; but I wonder if Herb sensed it, because he urged me to stay the course and reminded me that contemporary art could always use another champion.


“Some People” Opening Tonight

Join us tonight for a lecture by New York-based artists Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cucher about their new body of work for the exhibition Some People.  For Some People, the artists have filled the IMA’s McCormack Forefront Galleries with four expansive video installations that, together, confront the artists’ complex feelings in relation to conflict in the Middle East. Aziz + Cucher have distilled years of research and travel into these videos, which take recent and current conflicts out of a specific place and time to speak about the seemingly never-ending cycle of senseless destruction.

Here’s a sneak peek into the galleries, where Aziz + Cucher have been fine-tuning their work:

Sammy Cucher, in front of "By Aporia, Pure and Simple"

Anthony Aziz, in front of "By Aporia, Pure and Simple"

Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cucher of Aziz + Cucher


Venice in Indy

For the past three weeks, New York-based dancer Sadie Wilhelmi has been in residence at the IMA training local gymnasts to use Body in Flight (Delta), a sculpture by artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, as a stage for a performance that mixes gymnastics with elements of modern dance. Sadie was the lead female athlete from the exhibition Gloria, which was organized by the IMA and installed at the U.S. Pavilion during the Venice Biennale from June through November, 2011.

Sadie performing the routine during "Gloria" at the U.S. Pavilion in Venice.

Body in Flight (Delta) is currently situated in the IMA’s Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion for an exhibition opening today, and will be on display through April 22. Local gymnasts Taylor Brown, Caitlin Marlow, Kelsie Sexton, and Adrianna Spiteri will conduct ongoing performances in Efroymson for the duration of the exhibition. See the Body in Flight (Delta) exhibition page for further information and a schedule of performances.

USA Gymnastics, the governing body for the representation of American gymnasts at the Olympic Games, is based in Indianapolis and helped recruit gymnasts for this exhibition. Through the organization’s network of athletic clubs, we were able to recruit these talented gymnasts for the exhibition.

First our volunteers started training with Sadie on the prototype for Body in Flight (Delta). The routine was initially developed on this model by choreographer Rebecca Davis, gymnast David Durante, and artists Allora & Calzadilla in collaboration with the four dancers/athletes who performed in Venice (Olga Karmansky, Chellsie Memmel, Rachel Salzman, and Sadie).

Sadie training with Adrianna Spiteri on the model for "Body in Flight (Delta)" in a closed gallery at the IMA.

For the last week, the gymnasts and Sadie have been working in public in the IMA’s entry pavilion to hone their performances on the actual artwork.

Sadie and works with local gymnast Kelsie Sexton to perfect the routine in the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion.

I hope that you’re able to join us over the course of the exhibition to see local talent showcased in our lobby. If not, you can view the performance as it was filmed in Venice from a far.

Also in the galleries and opening today is Allora & Calzadilla’s Vieques Series, a group of three videos filmed on and about the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.


Call for Proposals

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is issuing a call for proposals for a summer 2012 six-week residency on Andrea Zittel’s Indianapolis Island within the IMA’s 100 Acres. Graduate and undergraduate students, as well as emerging professionals in the fields of art, design, architecture and performing arts are encouraged to apply to customize and reside on the Island.

Anchored in the 35-acre lake within 100 Acres, Indianapolis Island is a habitable “off-the-grid” structure accessible by rowboat. The 2012 residency will be the third to take place there. During the artwork’s inaugural summer in 2010, Herron School of Art and Design students Jessica Dunn and Michael Runge activated the installation with their project Give and Take, which consisted of a series of visitor interactions based on a system of exchange. The 2011 island resident was Katherine Ball, a student of Portland State University’s Art + Social Practice MFA program. Over the course of her residency, titled No Swimming, Ball initiated a series of ecological interventions in the lake and engaged a local audience through a series of public programs centered on the topic of water.

At about twenty feet in diameter, the Island serves as an experimental living structure that examines the daily needs of contemporary human beings. Residents collaborate with Zittel by adapting and modifying the structure according to their individual needs. The project blends elements of environmental art, sculpture, design and performance in a unique way, offering a challenging and experimental forum for exploring ideas about individualism and self-sufficiency.

If you’d like to be the 2012 Indianapolis Island resident, visit for more information, including photos and renderings of the structure and to learn how to apply. Proposals are due Friday, January 13, 2012.

If you’d feel more at ease watching the residency unfold from the 100 Acres lake shore or online, stay tuned to the IMA’s blog in spring 2012 to find out who will be the next person to call Indianapolis Island home.


No Vacancy

Andrea Zittel’s Indianapolis Island is now occupied by artist Katherine Ball. For the second residency on this habitable living structure within the IMA’s 100 Acres, she will attempt to improve the water quality of the 35-acre lake through her project, No Swimming.

During her time in Indianapolis, Katherine will investigate the sources of water flowing into the park’s lake and seek to understand how these inflows affect the quality of the lake’s water. She is bicycling along the edge of the White River in order to become familiarized with this body of water, which borders and often flows into the 100 Acres lake. She began the first leg of her journey on August 9 at the north fork of the river, and will live on Indianapolis Island from August 12 until September 25. After her residency, Ball will resume her trek, which will conclude at the intersection of the White and Wabash rivers.

 Follow the project with Katherine – and learn how you can become involved – through her blog, which she regularly updates here.


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