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Chuck Close says in Herb and Dorothy that artists would sell their works to the couple for practically nothing because they were “cute, funny, passionate, enthusiastic.” He could be describing the film itself, a documentary that makes you remember why people make documentaries. Much has been written and said about the Vogels, unlikely husband-and-wife collectors who, in 1992, bequeathed their entire collection—some 4,000 works—to the National Gallery of Art. Over decades, they bought from then-unknowns like Christo, Sol LeWitt, and Richard Tuttle on Herb’s postal-clerk salary (Dorothy’s paychecks from the Brooklyn Public Library went toward rent and sundries). They never sold a work for profit and had no restrictions other than they had to like a piece, it had to be reasonably priced, and it had to fit in their one-bedroom rent-controlled apartment. It all did, barely: Their bed got higher, their cats had fewer places to prance, they covered up light-sensitive pieces with towels. Dorothy didn’t want to catalog it all, so they gave it away to the place they visited on their honeymoon in Washington, D.C. “That’s where I got my first art lesson,” she says. Herb Vogel was the teacher, but everything they did and accomplished, they did together. In that sense, the film is more of a romance than an “art film.” It never explains why art is art or even why Herb and Dorothy think it’s art. When Herb’s eyes light up, it’s good. Big analysis is not needed to understand why Megumi Sasaki’s film is also good. Sure, it has a classic arc and nice archival tape, and there are surprising interviews with famous people. But what makes this film a can’t-miss are the small moments, the ones with Herb and Dorothy at their vinyl-covered table, talking about their lives. —JB