Las Vegas Sun

July 22, 2014

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ART:

A boost for UNLV gallery

When the Las Vegas Art Museum closed, its donated Vogel collection was left in limbo, until now

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A collection of art given to the Las Vegas Art Museum last year is being sent to UNLV’s Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery.

The decision was made by the original donors after they learned the museum had closed its doors in February.

The works, mostly contemporary prints and drawings, are part of a national gift program launched by art collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel in conjunction with the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The program sends 50 pieces of art to an institution in each state.

The Las Vegas Art Museum received the works in December and had planned an exhibit this year, but closed due to budget problems. After learning of the closure, the National Gallery looked to find a suitable home for the works.

Ruth Fine, National Gallery’s curator, contacted Beam gallery Director Jerry Schefcik last month to see whether the gallery would be interested in obtaining the Vogel works.

UNLV accepted the offer, and Fine broke the news to Patrick Duffy, the Las Vegas Art Museum’s board president, in an e-mail Wednesday.

Duffy had been looking for a location to show the museum’s permanent collection of about 250 works, including those donated by the Vogels. He said he supports the decision.

“It’s great that the Vogel collection is going to be seen by the community,” he said. “If not LVAM, then I’m glad it’s UNLV. I’m glad that it’s not leaving the city.”

The transfer of the works to the Beam gallery provides an opportunity for the community to see them sooner, he said.

The collection for Nevada includes works by Bettina Werner, Edward Renouf, F.L. Schroder, Larry Zox, Stephen Antonakos and Lynda Benglis. The Vogels live in New York City and have been collecting artwork since the 1960s. They have donated and sold works to the National Gallery since 1991 and launched this program to make the artwork available to the public.

Jeffrey Koep, dean of UNLV’s College of Fine Arts, said the details of the donation are being finalized with the university. He and Schefcik said the collection will increase the visibility of the Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery. The university has a very small art collection, which includes works donated by Wells Fargo Bank and a Frank Stella painting from a private donor.

“It now becomes a resource for educational purposes,” Schefcik said. “I can see where this would be a jumping-off point where the (UNLV) collection could grow. At some point there will be an exhibit. Hopefully sooner than later because we want to show the works.”

Duffy said the Las Vegas Art Museum will continue seeking exhibition space for its permanent collection. Museum officials have reached out to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve and to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, he says.

“It’s the community’s collection. We’ve kept the entire collection intact and ready to be employed. That’s what we professed to the community, and we’re only as good as our word.”

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