Before there was Dogs of Instagram there was William Wegman. The American photographer has been photographing his pet weimaraners since 1970.
Now the National Gallery of Victoria is staging the first major exhibition of the artist's work in Australia – William Wegman: Being Human. And it has a whole lot of artwork involving Wegman's favourite four-legged pals. For Wegman, his dogs were both muses and participants in his art.
Being Human will display more than 30 years of Wegman’s art, featuring 100 works, including 50 photographs that are being shown publicly for the first time.
Wegman's decades long obsession began when his weimaraner Man Ray – named after the surrealist artist Wegman admired – showed a particular affinity for posing for the camera. As with naming his pets after his influences, Wegman's work shows a reverence for art history. Many of his sets, costumes and props are an ode to cubism, colour field painting, abstract expressionism, constructivism and conceptualism.
You’ll see weimaraners posing with bar stools and cubes, wearing women’s high heels and dressed as a flute-playing musician.
Not one to restrict himself to one classification of art, Wegman’s work also involves painting, drawing, film, video, books and performances.
Broadsheet is a proud media partner of the National Gallery of Victoria.