William Wegman, the photographer best known for his compositions of eclectically attired Weimaraners, is coming to speak at FIT. The dogs won’t likely attend “in person,” but should be well represented in video and print. Wegman will be the first speaker in the Fall 2013 Photo Talks lecture series, a forum organized by Professor Jessica Wynne of the photography department.
A conceptional video artist in the 1970s, Wegman has said (to David Letterman) that his dog Man Ray started looking “better than the cheese or nuts I was conceptually placing in the corner.” Man Ray, named after the famous photographer and artist, would go on to gain global celebrity.
When Man Ray the dog died in 1982, there were many affectionate tributes, such as a cover photo of Man Ray dubbed “Man of the Year” in the Village Voice. There would be more Weimaraners.
Brad Paris, assistant chair of the photography department, says he especially likes Wegman’s early video work. “You can tell the early ones by the terrible video quality, which I think only makes the videos better,” he says.
The regal looking Weimaraners take well to an endless array of character types they seem to inspire in Wegman. Donning wigs, roller skates, space suits, dapper hats, overcoats and bulky cable knit sweaters, they pull off looks ranging from Elizabethan to femme fatale. They even look ridiculously lovable as farmers in overalls. Wegman seems never to tire of the pranksterish nature of it. About the only thing they don’t do is play poker.
Art critics are quick to point out that Wegman should be known as more than the “dog guy.” His early work, says Jerry Saltz in the Village Voice, was a “reminder that art could be entertaining and hilarious, and that it didn’t take much to do this, which gave his work the beauty of economy.”
William Wegman’s talk will take place on September 18 at 5:30 in the Katie Murphy Amphitheater located on the northwest corner of 27th Street and 7th Avenue.
To see more of Wegman’s work including vintage videos of Man Ray, go to his blog: A Blog from William Wegman