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date: 08 April 2020

Wegman, Williamlocked

Extract

American, 20th century, male.

Born 2 December 1942, in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Painter, watercolourist, draughtsman (ink), lithographer, photographer, mixed media, video artist. Figures, portraits, landscapes.

Bad Painting, Conceptual Art.

William Wegman graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and went on to study printmaking at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His early work consisted of Minimalist paintings and sculptures, but he later began making conceptual works, which he documented with photographs. He made his name in the 1970s with photographs and videos of his Weimaraner dog Man Ray, who also features in his paintings and drawings. He adds captions to his paintings and drawings, some copying text from 1950s children’s encyclopaedias. In the 1980s Wegman continued making photographs of his dogs, generating public attention from children and adults. These deadpan, quirky portraits give them a near-human quality, especially when Wegman began posing them in period costumes, roller skates, and in tableau-vivant settings of everyday life. His series of fairy-tale portraits of the dogs have been described as transfigurations. He returned to painting in the mid-1980s and in 1998, after a 20-year hiatus, Wegman began making video works, usually depicting himself performing monologues. The light-hearted and ironic tone of his videos explores what has been described as ‘the aesthetic of boredom’. In 2003, he showed works in which he had painted around postcards glued to wood panels. He experiments with varied styles, from conceptual art to Hyperrealism, from Orientalism to Luminism. He is based in New York....

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