Monday, March 1, 2010

The collectors

Finally got to watch the absorbing documentary "Herb and Dorothy," about the Vogels, a now-senior charming Manhattan couple who, despite living a modest life (she a former librarian, he a high school dropout) have amassed one of the most important collection of modern art in America. Since the '60s, they would visit artists' homes and handpick works that catch their eyes, and usually pay in installment (but in cash), sometimes in kind (like when they paid for an artwork by babysitting the artists' cat). The couple would then bring the artworks back to their tiny apartment, put them up on their walls, ceiling, bathroom, under the bed -- every nook and cranny taken up by art -- in boxes, folders, cloth, etc. The Vogels pick art based on what they see as beautiful, the kind of people who would declare a piece of rope stapled on a wall as "art." Time seems to agree with the Vogels as many of the artists they have befriended and collected went on to become famous. The art that they have collected is now worth millions of dollars, but the wonderful thing is they have no intention to sell a single piece, and instead, they are having their collection exhibited by museums in all fifty states for free, their way of bringing art back to regular people like them, but who have chosen to live modestly for art. At heart, the documentary, as well as the Vogel's lives, is not just about love for art -- which for the Vogels is well above any cash to be made from their possessions -- but about collecting, to have what takes their fancy, even at the expense of comfort or convenience. Almost like religion.

Which reminds me, jeez, I have a lot of STUFF and I certainly need a bigger space, like a warehouse to allow my stuff to breathe (this still doesn't include the stuff I have in the province). I can't help but think, if anybody would want to curate the junk that I have amassed all these years, perhaps he or she could come up with a traveling exhibition of:

a. my spending habits - I have kept about 90% of all receipts I ever got since college, for what reason, I still don't know
b. an alternate history of the Arlegui section of Quiapo - no explanation needed
c. a decent overview of quasi-cultural events of Manila with stress on film festivals - since I don't throw away leaflets and handouts of events
d. the trinketization of traditional culture - lots of kitschy souvenirs from all over, with a serious amount of wayangs from Indonesia; some of them are still in their wrappers
e. second-hand or new books (never read) acquired because "they're there and I might not see them again EVER if I don't buy them now"

I need professional help, or more shelves.

1 comment:

N said...

you need an oprah intervention :-D