Thrice-told tales, and worse

One of the worst things about mainstream journalism is the herd mentality. Sad to see it affecting the documentary world, too. Here we have a new film about Herb and Dorothy Vogel, the adorable, thoroughly middle-class couple who began collecting serious art in the 1960s. Persistence and charm paid off, and over the decades they amassed an astonishingly rich trove of now-invaluable art. But their story has been told, in newspapers, magazines, and on television. If you tell it again, tell it better. Don’t just retell it, with the usual clich├ęs. This one, sadly, is just for bird lovers.


Filed under Art, Documentary, film, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Thrice-told tales, and worse

  1. There was an interesting review of the movie in the Washington Post, essentially saying that the art world needs the Vogel story as a counterpoint to the generally held suspicion that contemporary collecting is a kind of “confidence game”…and that explains the mantra-like repetition. Of interest to me (I am a conservator in a contem. art mus.) is the difference between the sensibility of the movie critics in the Post and that of the art critic. The former cut to the chase (both pro- and con-) and easily engage humor, especially – not surprisingly -the acerbic variety; the latter avoids humor, adopting an elusive and dreamy reverence. In other words, one (sounds to me) journalistic and the other academic.


    • philipkennicott

      That “interesting review” was, I believe, the one I wrote, and the one that is linked to above (click on “new film”). But while claiming credit for the review, I hate to be placed in the “journalist” category if that means losing claim to “elusive and dreamy reverence.” I can be dreamy. I can be reverent. I can be very, very elusive.

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