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Vogel was born in Vienna, Austria. He fled Austria with his parents after the Nazi Anschluß in 1938 and at first studied animal husbandry at the University of Georgia. In the American South, he noted, the racism was as bad as the anti-semitism he witnessed in Europe. Later he received a bachelor's degree from The New School for Social Research in New York.
He is best known for his bestselling book Film as a Subversive Art (1974) and as the founder of the New York City avantgarde ciné-club Cinema 16 (1947–1963), where he was the first programmer to present films by Roman Polanski, John Cassavetes, Nagisa Oshima, Jacques Rivette and Alain Resnais as well as early and important screenings by American avant-gardists of the time like Stan Brakhage, Maya Deren, James Broughton, Kenneth Anger, Sidney Peterson, Bruce Conner, Carmen D'Avino and many others. In 1963, together with Richard Roud, he founded the New York Film Festival, and served as its program director until 1968. In 1973, Vogel started the Annenberg Cinematheque at the University of Pennsylvania and was eventually given a Chair for film studies at the Annenberg School for Communication, where he taught and lectured for two decades.
Vogel also wrote a book for children, How Little Lori Visited Times Square, published in 1963 with illustrations by Maurice Sendak.
- Film as a Subversive Art (1974)
Films about Vogel
- Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16, Paul Cronin, UK, 2003; 56m
- Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16 documentary
- Amos Vogel biography
- Censoring Cuba
- The Subversive Nub
- IMDB Profile