All artists have a muse. Movie directors perfect their craft working again and again with the same actor, while choreographers find their inspiration for some of their greatest works when creating for a particular dancer. Sometimes a muse is a silent partner, the object of an artist's intense and obsessive gaze. At other times the relationship is a kind of performance, a deeply collaborative act. For William Wegman, whose muses have been all of these things and more over the years, inspiration arrived in 1970 when his dog, a Weimaraner named Man Ray, appeared in front of his camera.
William Wegman is a world-renowned American artist whose paintings, photographs, videos and drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. Today he is perhaps best known for his collaborations with his longstanding muses, an ever-expanding cast of Weimaraners, for whom performing elaborate scenarios or merely posing demurely for their portraits comes as second nature. Curated in close collaboration with distinguished photography author William A. Ewing, William Wegman: Being Human is the most extensive collection of Wegman’s photographic work yet to be published. With over 300 images made over the last four decades, many published here for the first time, Being Human will delight and engage both those who are new to Wegman’s work and those who have admired his art for many years.
The book is organized thematically, presenting a wealth of exceptional work in such a way as to highlight the versatility of Wegman’s ever-inventive mind as he explores what it means to be human. From portraits of characters we so easily recognize – a suburban housewife, a famous actor, a nightclub singer, a golfer dressed in plaid – to imagery that toys with a wide range of visual languages, Wegman quotes freely from fashion photography, Cubism, colour theory, the tradition of the nude and the history of art itself.
With insightful essays by Ewing and Wegman, and an interview that explores the key concepts of the book, Wegman’s approach to his subjects and their life in the studio, Being Human celebrates a creative partnership - a relationship between an artist and his muses - that continues to this day.