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It's a Dog's Life: Photographs by William Wegman from the Polaroid Collection
October 11, 2008 - January 4, 2009
It's a Dog's Life: Photographs by William Wegman from the Polaroid Collection opens to the public on October 11, 2008, and remains on view through January 4, 2009, at the Morris Museum of Art. The Morris Museum is the only venue in the state to host Wegman's Polaroid Collection exhibition, which includes twenty-nine photographs by one of the art world's best-known photographers. (right: William Wegman, Stud 2000, 1990, Polaroid 20x24 Polacolor film. © William Wegman, Courtesy the Polaroid Collections)
The prints on view feature a series of compositions involving Wegman's now-famous pet Weimaraner, Fay Ray, successor to his original dog of the same breed, Man Ray, in a variety of poses and costumes. After Fay's death in 1995, her offspring became his subjects and muses.
"Wegman composes his photographs very carefully, giving extraordinary attention to the pose and lighting of his subject," commented Jay Williams, curator of the Morris Museum of Art.
"Some of his Polaroid images continue Wegman's penchant for dressing his subject in zany costumes and disguises, while others appear to be serious portraits-studies of his dog's physical form that become studies in abstraction."
Wegman is one of several artists who have completed special projects using Polaroid's amazing large-format instant camera, which weighs 235 pounds. Polaroid created it to make large-format instant photography available for a wide spectrum of uses, from getting close-up magnified views of Raphael's Transfiguration for the Vatican Museum to taking color portraits of President Clinton at the White House. The photographs in the exhibition are typical of those produced using this special camera and measure 20 x 24 inches.
Born in 1943, William Wegman received a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston in 1965, and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1967.
Numerous retrospective exhibitions of Wegman's work have been organized, among them Wegman's World, which opened at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1981 and toured the United States, and William Wegman: Paintings, Drawings, Photographs, Videotapes, which opened at the Kunstmuseum in Lucerne in 1990 and traveled to venues across Europe and the United States including the Pompidou Center in Paris and The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. More recent exhibitions have been mounted in Sweden, Japan, Korea, and Spain. Funney/Strange opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2006, accompanied by a catalogue that was published by Yale University Press.
Wegman's work is represented in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum; the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., to cite just a few.William Wegman currently resides in New York and Maine where he continues to take photographs and make drawings, paintings, and videos.
(above: (right: William Wegman, Rolleramer,
1987, Polaroid 20x24 Polacolor film. © William Wegman, Courtesy the
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