Over a 50-year marriage in a cramped, pet-filled New York City apartment, Herb and Dorothy Vogel amassed a multi-million-dollar 4800-piece collection of contemporary art. As director Megumi Sasaki's leisurely yet absorbing documentary tells it, the crusty postman and the mild librarian emerged as the Fred and Ethel Mertz of modernism, championing the early careers of such artists as Sol LeWitt and Christo.
The pair insist that they simply bought what they liked (and what they could carry by subway or taxi). But the film isn't an endorsement of common-folk collecting; through pithy interviews with artists and curators, Herb and Dorothy are painted in reverent, sometimes bemused tones as that rare combination of obsessive passion and daringly intuitive æsthetic.
"They look," says one artist. Indeed, as the unassuming Vogels shuffle through galleries hand in hand, Sasaki makes it affectingly clear that their intense gazes recognized the beauty not only in the art but also in each other.