William Wegman goes from canine portraits to chaotic abstractions

Reader alert. If you are a pet owner given to seeing animals as people you should skip this comment.

The models as a photographer William Wegmanis famous The portraits were never human. Instead, he imagined dogs in people’s clothes, saying he saw dogs as individuals and dressed them accordingly.

go monkey

Projecting human pathways onto non-humans looks a bit like the monkeys from the 2001 movie “Planet of the Apes” dominating a race of primitive humans.

Sure, waltz disney projected human traits onto animals all the time. The fawn in the 1942 film “Bambi” is shown joining his friends – a rabbit and a skunk – to explore the woods like curious children.

But wait.

Wegman now makes art without a dog in sight in his current exhibition at Sperone Westwater At New York. Even so, it’s hard to talk about him without mentioning his dog photos. Art in America captioned his review of his New York show, “Who took the dogs out?”

Emily Watlingtonassociate editor of Art in America, calls the absence of dogs “an attempt to remind viewers that, despite his reputation as a titular dog portraitist, Wegman is actually a serious artist.

I’m not so sure. One of the works featured a abstract acrylic and charcoal on titled wood “OMG 2021” which bears a strong resemblance to John Marin’s chaotic abstract oil paintings with their watercolour-like appearance, said to have inspired abstract expressionism.

But Watlington had a different view Wegman“OMG 2021.” Instead of a chaotic abstraction, she saw “a suburban home that has just been ravaged by a climate catastrophe.” In this case, MarineThe work also deals with climate catastrophe. The similarity is so strong.

Everything that has been said about Wegmanthe non-canine work of , his portraits of dogs are still in the Sperone Westwater show – a retro of his work from the early 70s to the present, which includes drawings, paintings and videos.

And, as long as Wegman continues to show canines disguised as humans – actually say that dogs aren’t good enough as they are – I’ll keep complaining about that.

Sperone Westwaterwebsite is excused WegmanThe sneering dog photos of him are an example of him “pushing holes in the more stuffy, academic art world.” In my opinion, it makes holes in the nobility of animals.

Serious artist?

Unaware of this nobility, Watlington not only recognizes that “stupid human sports outfits”, but also uses dog photos as a standard for praising Wegmanwork of the last days, calling it “equally goofy”, adding “thank goodness”.

Clearly the Art in America the publisher agrees to make animals the target of to jokes.

More jokes. Watlington enthuses over a drawing by Wegman of two men, one with a pipe, the other with a cigarette, captioned “Twins with individual tastes. She wonders if the drawing is meant to be a work of art or just a joke. The decides: “Who cares?” It’s funny.”

of his way of writing, Watlington is big on irreverence, especially toward what she calls the “self-righteous didacticism that so easily follows the pretense of a “artistic vision”. She labels it “self-centered”.

Looks like this Art in America editor is burnt out – raw.


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