B. United States, 1943
B. United States 1943
William Wegman is best known for his ongoing artistic collaborations with his Weimaraners. Wegman’s early work focused on black and white photographs and moving images that utilised the subtlest of visual puns to convey their message. Man Ray, his first Weimaraner, became a central figure in Wegman’s early photographs and video works. He became an early exponent of conceptual art, and his first works were performance based. Pieces included throwing radios off a roof and floating Styrofoam letters along the Milwaukee River. An installation work was included in Harold Szeemann’s influential exhibition Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form in Bern in 1969, alongside works by Joseph Beuys, Richard Serra and Bruce Nauman.
Wegman’s first photographs and films were made as a way of documenting these early ephemeral and performance-based works, although they quickly became the focus of his artistic output. Wegman returned to photographing dogs in 1987, using a large format 20×24 inch Polaroid camera. Wegman worked extensively with the Polaroid format from 1979 until 2007.
William Wegman was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1943. He received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston and an MFA in painting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne in 1967. Wegman has been the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships and two National Endowment for the Arts grants and his work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the world. These have included the seminal exhibitions When Attitudes Become Form and Documenta V, as well as a retrospective organised by the Kunstmuseum Lucerne in 1990, which travelled to museums including the Centre Pompidou, Paris and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Recent exhibitions include William Wegman and California Conceptualism, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018, and Being Human, which was the central exhibition at Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles in the summer of the same year.
William Wegman lives and works in New York and Maine.
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