Pooch Punt

Wegman’s best friends are largely absent in new exhibit

Photographer William Wegman is the Anne Geddes of the canine world. Where Geddes dresses babies as ladybugs, flowers, and bunnies, Wegman coaxes his pet Weimaraners into equally humiliating garb: think dresses, purses, and oversize trench coats reminiscent of McGruff the Crime Dog. His latest show is titled “Unexpected Wegman”; so what’s so unexpected? That it didn’t go completely to the dogs.

The show, continuing through January 24 at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, features conceptual art videos, artist-designed playing cards, monotypes, and, yes, some dog photos superimposed with hand-drawn costumes. But if you prefer LOLcats and kitty litter to pooper-scoopers and drool, no worries. The show’s appeal extends beyond dog lovers, says the exhibit’s curator, Cassandra Coblentz. “The dogs are often present, but they are in smart, conceptually driven art,” Coblentz tells New Times. “If you want to spend the time thinking about the concepts behind it, there’s a lot more, but if you just want to enjoy the surface art, it’s interesting, as well.”

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For example, in a piece titled Various Disasters, Wegman depicts four tragic scenarios: a man crushed under a wagon wheel, another with his arm in a sling, a sinking ship, and a bodybuilder trying to fit into a wire hanger. The images are sometimes dark, but amusing. “It’s a very funny show,” Coblentz says. “He’s a clever, witty person, and his work has a little bit of bite.”


Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: July 18. Continues through Jan. 24, 2009
 
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