The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center shows off Herb and Dorothy Vogel's collection

One of the interesting things about the art world is how open it is. I've been at many events where the attendees ranged from the classic starving artists who lived in their studios to zillionaire donors, along with lots of people like me, whose circumstances lie somewhere in between. A good example of this socio-economic diversity can be found in New York collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel.

Though the Vogels weren't rich -- Herb was a postal clerk and Dorothy a librarian -- the couple amassed several thousand pieces of contemporary art beginning in the 1960s, including works by the likes of John Chamberlain, Sol LeWitt and Lynda Benglis, and crammed them into their small apartment. By the 1970s, they started to become famous in art circles, and their collection was featured in museum exhibitions.

The Vogels are the stars of Herb & Dorothy, a 2008 documentary that played in Denver recently (as a side note, Dorothy earned her master's degree at the University of Denver). But the couple's collection is making news again.

In the 1990s, the Vogels began looking for a permanent home — or, as it turns out, 51 homes — for their loot. Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery of Art has been promised over 1,000 pieces; the other 2,500 works are being distributed in lots of fifty to fifty museums, one in each state. (For info, go to http://vogel5050.org.)

The chosen institution here, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, has already begun to receive its share, and in August, it will display some of it in a new-acquisitions show at the FAC Modern (121 South Tejon Street, Colorado Springs, 1-719-634-5581, www.csfineartscenter.org). Next year, a show devoted to the entire gift will be unveiled.

Among the pieces being acquired by the CSFAC are those by Will Barnet, Michael Lucero (pictured) and Richard Tuttle. The Vogel bounty will provide a major boost to the CSFAC's collection of contemporary art.

 
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