Polar Vortex or Not…the Screenings Will Go On!

polar vortex

By Kiki Murai

Hello Friends,

How is the weather where you are?

I don’t mean to start out with a cliche, but the polar vortex we’ve been experiencing this month is truly something else. It shows no signs of letting up, and thus, we expect to freeze now as we step out of the front door.

Our hearts flutter when the weather channel tells us we may actually be above freezing for a day or two.

“It’s supposed to warm up this weekend,” we say hopefully as we greet each other in elevators all around town, noses red and ears frozen, our coffees instantly cooling inside our gloved hands.

We’ll take it! Anything above freezing.

So, enough about the weather. We hope it’s not as cold where you are, and that you’re enjoying some sunshine this January 2014.

We’ve been away from this blog for awhile, as HERB & DOROTHY 50X50 opened in over 60 theaters around the US from September until December of last year. Thank you again and again, to everyone who came to any of our screenings to show your support.  We wouldn’t be here writing this if it weren’t for you.

What’s next in the life of HERB & DOROTHY 50X50, you ask?  And it’s a good thing you did.  Here’s where YOU can play a big part.

If you missed the film in theaters…join our ART FOR ALL Screening Tour! Any group can join.

It’s time now to turn our full attention to the museums, universities, art centers, and community centers all around the nation who might be interested in screening the film.

Yes, that could be you. Our film is now available for screenings all around the nation.

There are no special requirements, though there is a small fee involved in order to screen the film.  (Ask us about it at herbanddorothy50x50@gmail.com!)

The process is simple.

You just pick a date and time for the screening, as well as a venue, decide if it will be for free or with admission, and let us know about it!  We’ll help you with the simple 3-step booking process from there.

The 3 steps look something like this:

  1. 1. Fill out our screening application with your screening details.
  2. 2. Make payment of screening fee that entitles you to the screening rights for the film.
  3. 3. We send the screeners to you, and start promoting your event!

It sounds simple because it is. Your organization will be added to this SCREENINGS list if and when you decide to join our tour!

Right now, we are accepting screenings from February through September.  But if you would like to show the film after September, don’t hesitate to let us know.

Okay, ready?  First thing to do is just let us know you’re interested by emailing herbanddorothy50x50@gmail.com, toss us any questions that pop up, and we’ll get the ball rolling from there.

Ask for Kiki – that’s me!  I’ll take you through the process from start to finish. We’re so happy to share this journey with you.

Stay warm, everyone! I’m off to buy a burning hot coffee now.

 

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Fall Beauty and Openings This Week

central park in october

By Kiki Murai

What a gorgeous start to the week!

Fall in New York City is splendid in an incredulous kind of way. When most days of the year you’re either too hot or too cold, it feels like Christmas morning each day we wake up to what can be defined as perfect weather. But like Christmas, the magic comes and then it goes in a flash.  We’re bracing for some cold later this week, as all the weather folks on television promise a drop into the low 40s for the first time this season.  (And so it starts.)

Still, I’ve been looking up hot apple cider recipes and finding ways to bring ‘baking’ into my life, a foreign concept, but what’s life if not for adventure and discovery in the everyday? That’s what Herb and Dorothy have taught me anyway.

For those of you in these following cities, you can get a taste of Herb & Dorothy in the theater with the arrival of our new film, HERB & DOROTHY 50X50.

Here are our openings and continued screenings this week:

 

TULSA, OK @ Circle Cinema  (See details here)

  • Through Thursday, October 24

SEDONA, AZ @ Mary D. Fisher Theatre (See details here – scroll down page after clicking)

  • Oct 23 (Wed) 3:00pm and Oct 24 (Thurs) 7:00pm only
 

BELLINGHAM, WA @ Pickford Film Center (See details here)

  • Oct 27 only at 12:00pm

WINSTON SALEM, NC @ a/perture cinema (See details here)

  • Oct 27 (Sun) 2:30pm only
 
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And next week, we’ll be opening in Ogden, Fort Worth, and Miami!  
 
Stay warm (or cool) wherever you are, and please do continue to share your thoughts and comments about our new film on our Twitter or Facebook pages. 
 
Megumi arrived home to New York late last night from Oklahoma City, and will be taking another 14-hour flight back to Japan this Thursday. Even Dorothy marvels, “I don’t know how she does it.”  
 
She won’t be making any US appearances this week, but I hope you’ll join us in Buffalo on November 8th, her next scheduled appearance, with artist Charlie Clough and Chief Curator of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Doug Dreishpoon.  We will fill you in on details, of course, as the date nears. (If you’re ahead of the game, details are here.)
 
Have a spectacular fall or spring, whichever season surrounds you.  As always, thank you for spreading the word, and the Herb & Dorothy love.
 
See you in the theaters!

 

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Megumi Traveling Here, There and Everywhere

By Kiki Murai

As we continue on this journey with our new film HERB & DOROTHY 50X50, we’d like to shout our thanks from the rooftops. Or in Megumi’s case, from the seat of her plane, high above the clouds.

As you can see from our social media updates and newsletters and blog posts, Megumi has been traveling as much as her time and body (yoga-maintained as it may be) would allow since mid-September, to meet supporters in as many cities as humanly possible.

around the us

San Francisco, Berkeley, San Diego, Los Angeles, Boston, Gloucester, Washington DC and now…she’s in Tokyo as we write this on a Monday, she’ll be back in New York on Wednesday, then in Oklahoma this coming Saturday. And next Thursday, she will be back in Japan. All together now? Exhaaaaaaale.

During production on the film, Megumi used to say that only about 10% of filmmaking is actually making of the film – meaning the filming and the editing. It’s the before and after that tests the degree of one’s patience and willpower.

As anyone who has ever attempted to shoot a film knows, before (and all throughout) the creation is of course, the fundraising. The mind-boggling assembling of enough funds to sustain you and the team as you throw yourself into this project…that truth be told, nobody might care about. That in itself is frightening enough a concept to keep you in bed every morning.

True, Megumi had a humble-beginnings-turned-massively-loved film in her pocket called HERB & DOROTHY that assured her that people, most likely, would in fact care about her new film, also about the beloved Vogels.

But let’s now put ourselves in Megumi’s shoes when she was making that first film, HERB & DOROTHY, shall we? Okay. Moving on.

After the film is completed, the filmmaker travels the world to show both fans and non-fans (yet) this new creation. Sometimes (okay, oftentimes), this new film is mistaken for her first film, and she must keep informing them, “Yes, this is a new film.”

When circumstances allow, Dorothy joins Megumi on these trips. This journey has been a partnership between these two women, especially after Herb passed away last July.

We were all disappointed when Dorothy’s biannual trip to Washington DC and the National Gallery of Art (NGA) was canceled two weekends ago due to the government shutdown.  Dorothy was to join Megumi for a Q&A at the West End Cinema in Washington DC (where the film plays until this Thursday).  Nevertheless, Megumi and artist Marty Johnson were welcomed warmly by the audience, for which Megumi expressed more than a little joy. Thank you to all who came!

Megumi’s next trip in the US is coming up this weekend, October 19-20. She will be in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, her first trip to Oklahoma in at least 10 years. (The last time she went to Oklahoma, she was on assignment for NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster.)

So if you’re in or near those two cities, please join Megumi for a Q&A on the following dates:

– TULSA (10/19 Sat) @ Circle Cinema Q&A after the 7pm show (Click here for details) -  The film opens 10/18!

– OKLAHOMA CITY (10/20 Sun) @ Oklahoma City Museum of Art Q&A after the 2pm show  (Click here for details)  - The film screens 10/17-10/20!

After Oklahoma, Megumi will jet back to Japan for several speaking commitments, and then she’ll be back stateside for a trip to Buffalo in November. As always, we will keep you updated on her whereabouts, and of course let you know when Dorothy will be joining her.

In the meantime, we have many more openings of HERB & DOROTHY 50X50 between now and December. Please mark your calendars and join us when the film comes to your city!

Thank you for your continued support, and keep, keep spreading the Herb and Dorothy love!

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HERB & DOROTHY 50X50 Opening in 18 Cities This Week!

 

Hello friends of Herb and Dorothy!  Greetings from the road!

HERB & DOROTHY 50X50 will open THIS WEEK in 18 cities around the US! And the tour continues for Dorothy and Megumi, who will also be making a virtual stop in Hartford, CT this coming weekend.

Here is the appearance schedule for Dorothy and Megumi this week:

Boston, MA – Wednesday, October 2nd 
Following 8:00pm show – Q&A with Megumi (Details here.)

Gloucester, MA – Thursday, October 3rd
Following 7:30pm show – Q&A with Megumi (Details here.)

Washington DC – Friday, October 4th & Saturday, October 5th
FRI:  Following 7:20pm show – Q&A with Megumi & artist Martin Johnson (Details here.)
SAT:  Following the 2:20pm show – Q&A with Megumi (Details here.)
Before the 4:32pm show – Introduction by Megumi (Details here.)

dorothy skypeHartford, CT – Sunday, October 6th

Following the 2:30pm show – Skype Q&A with Dorothy and Megumi (Details here.)

And here are all 18 openings this week:

Milwaukee, WI (UWM Union Theatre) – tonight (10/2) only  (Details here.)

Columbus, OH (Gateway Film Center) – through 10/3  (Details here.)

Honolulu, HI (Honolulu Museum of Art) – through 10/3  (Details here.)

Boston, MA (Museum of Fine Arts Boston) – 10/2-10/6 and 10/9-10/10 only  (Details here.)

Houston, TX (Museum of Fine Arts Houston) – 10/3, 10/10 and 10/12 only  (Details here.)

Akron, OH (Akron Art Museum) – 10/3 only  (Details here.)

Gloucester, MA (Cape Ann Community Cinema) – 10/3 and 10/8-10/10  (Details here.)

Seattle, WA (Northwest Film Forum) – opening 10/4  (Details here.)

Hartford, CT (Real Art Ways) – opening 10/4  (Details here.)

Providence, RI (Cable Car Cinema) – opening 10/4  (Details here.)

Washington DC (West End Cinema) – opening 10/4  (Details here.)

Cleveland, OH (Cleveland Museum of Art) – 10/4 and 10/6  (Details here.)

Ithaca, NY (Cornell Cinema) – 10/4 and 10/8  (Details here.)

Lambertville, NJ (ACME Screening Room) – 10/4-10/6 only  (Details here.)

Toms River, NJ (Traco Theater) – 10/4-10/10 only  (Details here.)

St. Johnsbury, VT (Catamount Arts) – 10/4-10/10   (Details here.)

San Diego, CA (Media Arts Center San Diego) – 10/5 and 10/8 only  (Details here.)

New Haven, CT (Yale University Art Gallery) – 10/6 only (Details here.)

See you at the theater!

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Fame – For All It’s Worth

By Kiki Murai

We’re back with another post in our UNCAPPED series. A look at Herb and Dorothy behind the film lens. Click here to read the other posts in the series.

– — – — – — – — – — – — – —  

Hello from New York City! We’re having another gorgeous fall day today. Just. Perfect.

In each of these posts we like to go behind the scenes of one still image from the Herb & Dorothy film(s), and try to get on the filmmaker’s wavelength, understand the inner workings of the films about our favorite art collectors.

One topic Megumi wanted to explore in her second film HERB & DOROTHY 50X50 was the idea of fame.  The illusion of it, its seductive forces, the intoxicated state it lures us into until we no longer feel the intoxication.

As you know from the first film HERB & DOROTHY, the Vogels began meeting artists in their studios in the 50s and 60s and buying their artwork before many of them became famous (or in Dorothy’s words, “when we were young”). Before they became the ‘world-renowned’ Christo and Jeanne-Claude, or the Chuck Close, or Lawrence Weiner that we can only experience in museums.  Before they could pay their rent.

The Vogels exchanged cat-sitting services for a work of art (similiar to how we now barter web design services for a headshot to put on our blogs?), and deals were sealed on works that were not even completed, because Herb insisted it was better that way.  (As in this exchange between Herb and the artist James Siena.)

What is fame, and what are its ramifications? The question has been asked many a time, and of course there’s no single answer. Megumi decided to approach the subject by including a particular artist in the film – a favorite of the Vogels, Charles Clough.

charlie clough at ifc

Megumi and Charlie at recent IFC Center opening

Megumi knew straight away that she wanted to include Charlie in HERB & DOROTHY 50X50. “He is such a kind, warm person,” Megumi says, “I wanted to show his relationship with Herb and Dorothy”, which is more parent and son than collector and artist.

As parents would, Herb and Dorothy knew Charlie early on in his career, and worried for him.

“Whenever Herby would come to the studio,” Charlie shares in the film, “he’d always say ‘I just hope I can see you make it’.”

And to show that they meant it, Herb and Dorothy usually left the studio with one of Clough’s works. They’ve now accumulated over 600 of Charles Clough’s works alone, and he is included in all 50 of the gift packages that have been sent to one museum in all fifty states through the unprecedented Vogel 50X50 gift project.

Charles Clough thanks Vogels for their help at his group show at Metropolitan Museum copy

Charlie with the Vogels in HERB & DOROTHY 50X50

Charlie speaks to us candidly in this scene from the new film, about where he would be if the Vogels were not there to support him throughout his career.

We’re all often quick to judge an artist’s worth by how ‘famous’ they are. While that may not be the most accurate method in determining the quality of an artwork, neither is buying art solely because the artist is a friend.

The Vogels did not have a problem with that.

They were known to be extremely particular in their selections, and though they may have looked at every work an artist had in his or her studio, they only took home the ones they liked. Many artists attempted to give works to the Vogels, which the couple regularly refused.

So what does it say about Charlie that they own over 600 of his works? We know they don’t buy what they don’t like.

“About his work…” Dorothy says in the new film, “it’s so much related to early abstract expressionism, that a lot of other people thought it was maybe old-fashioned. But it’s very fresh-looking and we like it a lot.”

And now, as you’ll see in film and on the map Charlie has in his studio, his works are being shown in every state in America.  When he opened a show in New York City earlier this year, Dorothy attended the opening.

Fame?

Perhaps not of the Hollywood sort.

But long-lasting? And spread across the United States, from Fargo to Honolulu?

Most definitely.

“We’re very proud of you,” Dorothy says to Charlie.

And Charlie’s reply… here. (The moment is much better on video than paper.)

Whether an artist is famous or not never meant much to the Vogels.

And because of that, they now have two films made about them. Funny how that works.

– — – — – — – — – — – — – —  

Thank you to everyone for spreading the word about our film. We’ve recently passed our 5,000 Likes on Facebook, and are so thrilled. Thank you!

We’re opening in the Los Angeles area this weekend (see the theater list here), and Megumi’s excited to meet you in the City of Angels. Stay tuned for updates!

You have just three days left to see the new film at IFC Center! Go while you can.  Tickets can be purchased here.  

See you at the theater!

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Dorothy & Megumi Heading to Bay Area

 

Good morning from cloudless and beautiful New York City!

Speaking of clouds, Dorothy and Megumi are flying over them as we speak, en route to San Francisco for the Bay Area opening of HERB & DOROTHY 50X50 tonight. They look forward to meeting all of you in San Francisco and Berkeley this weekend!

Appearance times for San Francisco

roxie-marquee

  • 9/20 (Fri) 
  • 7pm – post-screening Q&A with Megumi and Dorothy @ Roxie Theater
  • 9/21 (Sat) 
  • 3pm - post-screening Q&A with Megumi and Dorothy @ Roxie Theater
  • 4:45pm - post-screening Q&A with Megumi and Dorothy @ Roxie Theater

 

 

 

 (Image from Roxie Theater website)

 

Appearance times for Berkeley

rialto cinemas elmwood

 

 

 (Image from Google Images)

If you attend either of these theater openings, please send us photos so we can share them on our Facebook page with our global community!

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Back in NYC (Last weekend)

attheifc

Meanwhile, our film is still running at IFC Center in New York! (And we need you to keep it going.)

Please keep up the tweets and posts and updates, spreading the word to those around you who may not have seen it yet!

Meanwhile, remember the second half of Dorothy and Megumi’s Q&A from last weekend at IFC Center that we promised?

 

 

 

Here it is, part two, art-loving ladies and gents.

(Read Part 1 of the Q&A here.)

audience copy

The audience as Dorothy & Megumi enter for the Q&A

 

Question(s) from the audience:

Two questions please. Do you remember the first piece you bought together? And was there a moment when it hit you, the scope, the scale of what you’d been doing?

Dorothy:  The first piece – when I met my husband he had works he’d bought before I met him – the first piece we bought together was the Chamberlain, a small sculpture by John Chamberlain. That was February of 1962 and we got married in January. That was the first studio I visited.

(In answer to the second question)

I don’t think we paid attention while we we’re doing it. It wasn’t until people started to ask to come to see the collection or we started having requests to loan the work or we started having exhibitions that we began to realize that we did have something special.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

Q: Was there any work that you passed on purchasing but later regretted doing so?

Dorothy: Yes. The one that always comes to mind was when we first got married. We saw a small painting by Andy Warhol of aerial stamps, which would have been perfect because my husband worked at the post office. It was in an art gallery and it was around Thanksgiving time and we said we were interested and they said they would hold it.

When we went back to get it, she had sold it to someone else. So we learned early that if you see something, you;ve got to get it right away because things can slip through your fingers. You have to learn to respect your own instinct and act on it quickly. We learned early, very early, a hard lesson.

 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

Q: Can you talk a little bit about how the institutions (in the Vogel 50X50 project – which our new film explores) were chosen?

Dorothy: The whole idea was by (then-curator at the National Gallery of Art) Ruth Fine, who was inspired by the Kress Collection of old master paintings. The core of that collection was at the National Gallery, and different museums throughout the country had small collections from the Kress, which she’d been visiting one day when she thought of us, that it would be nice if the Vogel Collection were in some of these institutions. When she asked us about it, she suggested certain institutions, especially places where the Kress Collection existed.

So we took the list and looked at it and made some changes. For instance, the one she first suggested was in El Paso because that’s where she had the first idea, but I chose Austin, Texas because we had an exhibition there. A lot of them were chosen because we had personal connections with them.  We either had shows there, we loaned to there or knew people who worked there. So the first choice really came from her or me, and then many cases at the end we had to rely on other people’s options because we didn’t know many museums in Alaska or Hawaii.  But the first choices were solely our decision.

at ifc copy

Megumi and Dorothy answer questions

Q: I have a question for the filmmaker. Did you have complete freedom in making this piece or did Ms. Vogel also have a say in what we just witnessed? What was your freedom like?

Megumi: I would say I had 100% freedom. (To Dorothy) Didn’t I?

Dorothy: Of course! Always let artists do what they want. You have to give them the full scope of their capability. She did a good job!

End of Q&A

-  -  -  -  -  -

Be sure to catch us in theaters in New York, San Francisco, Berkeley, Asbury Park and Portland this weekend!

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How She Met Herb – We’ll Let Dorothy Tell You

By Kiki Murai

ifc center

Our film tops the marquee

Hello friends!

As you know, this past weekend, we had the great fortune of premiering our film HERB & DOROTHY 50X50 at the famous IFC Center in New York City. The sun beamed down gently, the chilly air smelled of fall, and we all held our breaths and hoped for the best…

And what we got was…this.

ovation

 

Our shows were filled completely on Friday and Saturday nights…and the evening(s) included this standing ovation as Dorothy and Megumi walked into the theater after the show.

We were so touched.  Floored, I tell you!

Thank you so much to everyone who came to the theater (and brought their friends and parents and relatives and english teachers), and to those of you who helped spread the word from across the country, who kept their fingers crossed for us.

We all did it.

We’ve just received word that our run has been extended one more week! See here? More dates! You see, ours was supposed to be a limited engagement of just one week, but thanks to you, we’re still here!

dorothy & megumi

 Dorothy and Megumi during the Q&A

Megumi and Dorothy thank you. From their hearts, they truly do.

In fact, that’s the first thing they said as they sat down in front of the Saturday night audience for an engaged session of questions and answers.

Here’s an excerpt of the discussion that I’ve broken up into parts for your reading pleasure. Part 2 will come tomorrow!

Take it away, audience!  There is hardly a question these two will not answer.


Q:  How do you feel about giving all your works away?

Dorothy: As you get older, you have to think of what to do with it, because you can’t hold onto it forever, and it was important that we find a good home. That’s the responsibility of a collector to think of what’s going to happen. We unfortunately don’t have children, to leave works for them, so this was the best thing we could do – to give them to different institutions who can properly take care of it, and show it, and take responsibility for it.
I feel good about it.

 

Q: Did you and Herby ever miss creating art after you began collecting?

Dorothy: We stopped because I really think at the time, we weren’t as good as other people were. But looking at his work now, I think, he wasn’t that bad (laughs). I’m really kind of sorry I sort of discouraged him. We really enjoyed buying art, enjoyed going to the studios, and it was just too much. We couldn’t paint ourselves and work full-time jobs and do what we had to do, so that’s [giving up making art] something we just decided to do.

His paintings as I said – two of them are up in my apartment now, I’m giving a few to my sister-in-law, she’s going to give them to her children, and a few of them are going into the archives at the National Gallery. So eventually, people will be able to SEE his works. So I’m not discarding them at all. His works will be on display if anybody wanted to see them.

during q&a

 

Q: Did you keep a list (inventory) as you were collecting, or was it uncatalogued until you gave the collection away?

Dorothy: I originally started a very good catalogue of cards, and I had a very good system. And then we started working with someone who wanted to write a book about the collection, and she took all my cards and put them in notebooks. And then it got hard to keep up, because we bought so much so fast, that it became very disorganized. So finally we took all the works to the National Gallery, and they did all the inventory there.

So, I tried, but when you get so much at one time and you lead a busy life, it’s hard to be that…organized. We did the best we could.

dorothy closeup

 

Q: How is the cat?

Dorothy: Only one cat now. Archie’s now 16 years old and he has high blood pressure (audience laughs) and he has a heart murmur and kidney disease, so he’s an elderly cat who needs medicine and he’s still lovable, he’s still active, but he’s getting old and he’s in his later years, I’m afraid. But he’s still a beautiful cat.

Unfortunately, we had to shave him because I’m…good at taking care of him…pretty much, most of the time but…brushing him was something Herby did very faithfully and I somehow never got the knack of doing it. So we had to shave him and he came back looking kind of weird (audience laughs) because his face and tail are fluffy and…he looks like a lion right now (more laughter).  But he’s still a lovable little cat.

night sky

 

Q: How did you and Herby meet?

Dorothy: Long story (laughs). One summer I went to a resort called Tamiment in the Poconos, and that fall, there was a reunion of people who went to Tamiment at the Stanton Hotel, and Herby was there. He remembered seeing me a week before at another event, and I was talking to somebody so he didn’t approach me. He said I looked intelligent or something.

Anyhow, I met him at this reunion, which was like a dance. He came up to me and introduced himself, and that’s how I met him! He went to the reunion, but he never went to the resort (audience laughs). He took the shortcut.

That’s Herby for you (laughs).

———————————–

Dorothy is nothing if not frank. She answers each question honestly and thoughtfully. The Q&A continues in the next post…see you then!

Follow our conversation on Facebook, where we list new dates in cities around the US, as well as special events and appearances not listed on this THEATERS page.

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Sold Out Friday! (But There’s Still Tonight)

By Kiki Murai

“I’m sorry, our 7:30pm show is sold out.”

“Herb & Dorothy 50×50 is sold out.”

“Sorry…”

We heard these words repeated over and over through the box office microphone at the IFC Center last night, beginning at about 6pm (or possibly earlier).  Our hearts ached a bit as we saw the disappointed looks on the faces of our potential filmgoers, but we were able to exchange words with a few of them, and many promised they would be back today.

That’s the kind of night it was. A marvelous turnout.

friday

A Night at the Cinema

Special guests Christo and Marty Johnson graced us with their presence at two separate Q&As. Thank you to Christo and Marty for taking the time out of your busy schedules to appear for our film. We’re truly grateful.

megumi and christo

Megumi with Christo

megumi and marty

Megumi with Marty Johnson

Throughout the evening, our team received many congratulatory words and hugs and kisses (and tweets).

“It was a lovely night at the movies,” an audience member told us as she left the theater with her daughter, who wanted to donate money to our film in any way she could.

A passerby who had not known about this new film stopped in her tracks when she saw our poster. “I saw the first one and loved it. Is this a new one?”

I assured her it was. “I will definitely be back to see it,” she replied. When it’s not sold out.

Our friends who hung out in Greenwich Village though they couldn’t get a ticket to the show, just so they could celebrate with us after the night ended.

Just a few fave moments from last night, our delightful friends, tweeters and Facebookers IRL (in real life).

There is nothing like a real smile to make our night.

And thank you to the IFC Center for welcoming us all so warmly, helping us set up tables outside for our posters and DVDs (and the popular Lawrence Weiner sketchbook), saving us from hunger by sharing some popcorn with us, and just being so very cool and kind.

If you couldn’t get a ticket last night, be back today for Q&As with filmmaker Megumi Sasaki, Montclair Art Museum chief curator Gail Stavitsky and artist Charles Clough, as well as tonight with Dorothy Vogel!

The appearance schedule can be seen here.

See you very very soon!

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On Premiere Day – We Say Thank You.

By Kiki Murai

Our stomachs are fluttering. The cream cheese we had this morning may not be agreeing with us today, or perhaps, it’s that our film HERB & DOROTHY 50X50 is opening today at IFC Center in New York City. That could be it.

At the same time…

We’re getting so much love on Twitter and Facebook right now, they’re enough to transform our quivery smiles (and butterfly stomachs) into ear-to-ear grins (and…what?).

We wish we can thank you each in person (and we’ve been trying wherever we can – especially here for individual outbursts of gratitude), but if we haven’t virtually high-fived or hugged you yet, it’s not intentional. We’re so grateful to you!

Please do continue to spread the word over the weekend (and beyond), as there are still 40 cities following New York City. (Seen here – is your city listed? We sure hope so.)

If you have a screening coming up in your area, start warming up those tweeting muscles!

As we send out our last-minute emails, make postcard deliveries and carry posters to the theater today, here are some recent reviews of HERB & DOROTHY 50X50 that have given us joy this week.

At the incomparable Village Voice, Chris Klimek writes:

Village Voice Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s an absorbing document of an extraordinary act of generosity.

Her [Sasaki's] follow-up is about the couple’s controversial decision to divide their collection, giving 50 pieces to a museum in each U.S. state. The result was at least 50 dramas, only a few of which Sasaki can cover in 85 minutes.

The film is at its best when it examines the impact of the Vogels’ selections on audiences unaccustomed to confronting abstract art.”

 

On the great rogerebert.com, Peter Sobczynski wrote:

rogerebert.com photo

 

“As the film watches the overseeing the distribution of their collection, the film quietly but effectively raises questions about the very nature of art collection and what responsibilities, if any, collectors have towards their purchases.

Some of the most amusing moments come from seeing the ways in which the donated art challenges those who have come to see them in their new surroundings. Some may be experiencing modern art for the very first time. Young children seem to respond the best, maybe because they have not yet been conditioned to think of abstract art as weird or difficult. The adults are more of a mixed bag. Some find a deep connection with the pieces. Others shrug them off. One man says, “I tend to like the ones that are a little more finished.”

As the saying goes, I may not know art, but I know what I like. I like this movie.”

 

I know what I like. That’s exactly what Herb and Dorothy said.

There are so many more reviews and blog posts we wish we could share about the film and the Vogels. We’ve been reading them all, and thank you for expressing your thoughts – the good, the mixed, the not-so-much. This discussion is what art is all about, and we love the conversation the Vogels have started.

Deep breath… and here we go. So glad you’re here.

No matter what happens – today on premiere day, we say…thank you.

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Finding a Way Into the Secret Lives of Artists

By Kiki Murai

This is a series we like to call UNCAPPED. A look at Herb and Dorothy behind the film lens. What did director Megumi do to capture the scenes that she did for her first film HERB & DOROTHY? And what can we expect in her new film, HERB & DOROTHY 50X50, due out tomorrow?

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James Siena was the last (and youngest) artist to enter the Vogel Collection.  During the filming of her first film HERB & DOROTHY, Megumi was able to get a front-row seat as Herb and Dorothy Vogel got to know the artist better.  But of course, it wasn’t easy.

“The Vogels were really warm and inviting when I first asked if I could make a documentary about them,” Megumi told me recently. “But at the beginning, it felt like their door was open, but just a crack. They let me film, but only some parts of their lives. The one thing they never let me film was their visits to artist’s studios.”

How then, were they able to film the scene with James Siena?

H&D with James Siena

Megumi remembers it well.

Herb and Dorothy first discovered James Siena, in 2005.

Herb was very excited, Megumi recalls, nearly giddy in sharing with her that they’d found an incredible artist. “He’s so great,” Herb would say with a glimmer in his eye and a bounce in his voice.

He couldn’t contain his excitement.

Siena says (in the film), “In February 2005, Herb and Dorothy made their first visit they acquired three pieces. On their second visit, they acquired, I think, nine pieces.”

Megumi was not allowed into these first and second visits.

When Megumi asked Herb, “Who’s this artist? Who is it?”, Herb answered with a mischievous “I can’t tell you.” Quickly adding, “But he’s SO GREAT. I’m so happy!”

Megumi laughs about it now.  ”Dorothy would always tell Herb, ‘Stop talking about it if you can’t say his name!’”

The Vogels’ relationships with artists were completely private, as it was the most sacred part of their lives – no discussion.  (Which makes HERB & DOROTHY (first film) and HERB & DOROTHY 50X50 (second film) a near-miracle.)

Exactly two and a half years after Megumi began filming HERB & DOROTHY, interweaving dozens of personal visits to the Vogel apartment without a camera or crew in tow, to scoop a dead fish out of the fish tank or to change a lightbulb in the Vogel bathroom – which by the way, still has installed works of Lawrence Weiner and Sol LeWitt as they are drawn on the walls and can’t be taken down – Megumi was finally allowed access into a private studio visit with an artist.

That artist was James Siena.  (You can see the full scene from Megumi’s first film here.)

“What distinguished them from other collectors on one level was that they really wanted to see…everything,” Siena says in his interview. ”As I would show them one thing they’d say, let me see something like that. Let me see another one like that. They had to create a sort of mini survey of my development.”

As  other artists in the Vogel Collection can attest, the Vogels had to see it all.  Yet they didn’t share what they saw with others. They just made the purchase quietly, and kept adding to their collection.

Until one day, they decided to share everything.

(This is what you’ll see in our new film HERB & DOROTHY 50X50, opening tomorrow.)

Thanks to Megumi’s persistence and dedication, we now have two films, HERB & DOROTHY and HERB & DOROTHY 50X50, unquestionably the most private, personal documentation ever made about the Vogels.

Even still.

When talk about price comes up in the scene above, Herb remembers the camera and says, “I don’t like the public knowing what we pay. This is personal and private.”

We’ll take what we can get.

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In what is likely the closest you will get to the Vogels, see what Megumi was able to capture in her second film HERB & DOROTHY 50X50, premiering tomorrow in New York City. (At IFC Center.)

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