William Wegman b. 1943
Selected Works (excerpt)
Wegman uses the area framed by the camera as his performance space, employing a single, fixed camera to record the scenes as he and Man Ray, his Weimaraner, act them out. It has been suggested that Wegman's performances with Man Ray are uncanny invocations of broadcast television's manipulations of its viewers. Man Ray and his companion are collectively mesmerized by a tennis ball. The misrepresentations and lewd stroking of Man Ray as Wegman delivers a used car salesman's monologue apes television's crass marketing. Man Ray's pursuit of a dog biscuit inside a glass bottle creates the type of narrative suspense that draws us into the action on the screen.
"In a way, [Man Ray is] like an object. You can look at him and say, how am I going to use you, whereas you can't with a person...You can manipulate him so that he doesn't feel manipulated, so that he feels he's doing something he's supposed to do or having fun, one of the two."
—William Wegman (Bear, 1973)
These tapes are a selection from the hours of short performances Wegman recorded in his studio from 1970-1978. Selected Works includes Two Dogs And Ball (silent), Used Car Salesman, Dog Biscuit In Glass Jar