The Amos Vogel Library
Among the numerous acquisitions of the Austrian Film Museum in 2012 were not only one thousand 35mm film prints, a large group of Soviet film stills from the 1920s and many other additions to the museum's Photo, Poster, and Personal Papers Collections, but also a very special bequest. Thanks to the support of former Cultural Minister Claudia Schmied and the Ministry's film department, the Film Museum was able to acquire Amos Vogel's private library and a part of his audio recordings and early German-language writings. Consisting of 250 boxes and more than 5000 books, this is the comprehensive document of a rich and varied life, and of Austrian culture in exile.
Amos Vogel, born in Vienna in 1921, emigrated to New York in 1938 and there became one of the most important figures of postwar international film culture. As the founder and curator of Cinema 16, the largest film club in the United States, and the founding director of the New York Film Festival as well as a critic, scholar and author of a standard work, Film as a Subversive Art, he earned a unique position in independent film. In the words of Martin Scorsese: "The man was a giant." Starting in the 1990s, Vogel also maintained closer ties with Vienna. In 1993, he was a guest and gave a very moving lecture at the first extensive symposium and retrospective dedicated to exiles in film, organized by the Viennale, the Film Museum, and SYNEMA.
After Amos Vogel's death on April 24, 2012, his sons Steven and Loring approached the Film Museum and enabled the purchase of Vogel's collection of books. It stretches back to the 1930s and reflects the enormous range of his intellectual interests.
Be Sand, Not Oil. The Life and Work of Amos Vogel, edited by Paul Cronin for FilmmuseumSynemaPublikationen, is the first book about Vogel, and includes uncollected writings, an unpublished interview, and new essays documenting his never-ending quest for what Werner Herzog, his friend of many decades, has described as "adequate imagery." Among the future projects related to Vogel's legacy is the redeployment of his library in an archive & study center.