Herb and Dorothy, Ultimate Art Collectors

I read about Herbert and Dorothy Vogel sometime ago but heard, only recently,  about the documentary. Herb and Dorothy are a long time married couple/long time art collectors based in New York. Though well known in the New York art scene for decades, in recent years they gained notoriety for their charming story.

At the beginning of their marriage Herb was taking art classes and, as the good wife, Dorothy took classes in order to take an interest in her husbands interests. Eventually they both decided that they were not talented enough and instead began to collect. The most sensational part of their story is that they managed to accumulate an enormous collection of contemporary art on a modest income. Herb was a postal clerk and Dorothy was a librarian. Apparently they lived on Dorothy's salary and used Herb's to buy the work.

They went to every opening, bought only what they liked provided that they could fit it in their apartment and could carry it home. Seemingly their interpretation of "fitting in the apartment" was quite literal as their one bed was stuffed with most things were stacked under tarps. Their appreciation of minimalism doesn't extend to interior design.

The documentary film was made in 2008. The story has a little magic to it, their interest in art was not motivated by financial gain, the bought unlikable work and they wanted to pay a fair price. It has cleansed my critical pallet.

Undoubtedly these two have a huge cult following. Oh they seem to tick a lot of the boxes; quirky, cat loving, art loving, stylish and elderly(vintage), hoarding and anti-establishment. That's hipster heaven!!

All images were obtained from a google image search, no copyright infringement intended.

Coal Mining and Me

 I have a growing interest in mining and all it's sociopolitical drenched history. I know Chilean miners are what people are into lately but these are Ukrainian. The portraits were shot by photographer Gleb Kosorukov and I think they are striking (silly pun) images. They are also serving as part of visual reference for a series of performance based images I am working on.

91seconds of Living and Loving and John Lewis Advertising


I am finding myself thinking about advertisements a little more than ever before. I think I thought I tuned them out, but of course that is what everyone says, either way they never really bothered me.

Increasingly they have been p*ssing me off and sparking a sparkling variety of emotions. Perhaps it is because I am curious as to how media influences people not only in what they purchase but in who they are, particularly in regards to gender based identities. Perhaps it is because I watch Mad Men which is set in a New York 1960s ad agency. Perhaps it is because I watch The Apprentice which usually has tasks involving the development of ad campaigns. This causes me to imagine the thought process behind the things I see. (I am not sure if it is even a semi accurate portrayal of how things get done but I suspect the shots of cringing graphic designers copying and pasting up the stereotypical ideas of idiots-with-egos might be realistic.)

I hate being sold a lifestyle and I hate being told what it is to be a woman but somehow I love this John Lewis ad. I first learned of the campaign at the Guardian a while back. John Lewis is a British department store that is known as an old reliable. It is unique in that its employees are referred to a partners as they all have a share in the company. It's selling point is that it is a fair, consistent and people orientated company. The developers Adam & Eve communicated this with emotive success.

Usually women in television adverts are very one dimensional. They are often characters informed heavily by Sex & the City style lifestyles. Shoes and bags and cocktails with the girls kind of thing. Although the female lead in the advert is not challenging stereotypes, she is portrayed as a complete human being. She is an innocent child, a beautiful wife, a caring mother, an ambition career woman and a stylish elderly person. Woman are too often dehumanized in the media by being represented as incomplete people.  I think this plays a huge role in the objectification of woman and so, in violence against women too.

Or perhaps it is the golden light, the Billy Joel cover and the stylish elderly lady that has me.

Inside Jokes (hahaha), Art is a Big Deal

Big Deal 2010, Ink on paper. 59cm x 79cm

I have hidden need to make things that reference "art history" or more specifically what I remember being a big deal from art history lectures. I am not entirely sure if this is always apparent or if it is just some inside joke only I am laughing at.  My schooling taught me Giotto to Cezanne, which is "absolutely ages ago to really long time ago European art". When I got to college, everything outside of this intrigued me and, I think, played a huge part in my practical understanding of contemporary art.

This is (a little something I whipped up earlier which is) one of those things that references art history. Hokusai, The Big Wave of Kanagawa is one of the first things I remember of non Western Art that was a big deal. The lecturer was talking about how this asymmetrical composition influenced Western art as asymmetry was a somewhat new idea.

I think Art is ever changing because society is ever changing and what was once relevant becomes irrelevant and vice versa. And so I painted the wave bang on in the centre.

Rule of thirds f-u.


For a brief moment the setting sun reflected off a window of a building in the horizon and into mine, causing a tight beam of glowy light to illuminate my tea. The steam looks like flames. I had to dash to find my camera, the focus isn't quite right as it lasted for only a minute, no time for fiddling with settings. 5.15, it's magic!