cover image William Wegman: Paintings, Drawings, Photographs, Videotapes

William Wegman: Paintings, Drawings, Photographs, Videotapes

William Wegman, Martin Kuntz. ABRAMS, $39.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-3951-6

Painter-photographer Wegman is best known for his pet dogs, notably the late Man Ray, a weimaraner. He portrays dogs in bed watching TV, dressed up as an elephant or a frog, on roller skates, etc. These jokey pictures have won him a reputation as a humorist and post-modernist commentator on art. Of greater interest are his send-ups of Caravaggio and his almost cartoon-like photographs of everyday scenes or objects. Edited by Kunz, former director of the Kunstmuseum in Switzerland, this catalogue of a traveling exhibition exhaustively surveys Wegman's photos and lighthearted videotapes; his ``consistently banal'' drawings, which make ``a kind of anti-statement''; and his paintings, which ``lure the viewer into the anxiety that Kierkegaard called `the dizziness of freedom.' '' That's a tall claim for loose, often derivative canvases. Wegman scores most effectively as a deflater of the seriousness of conceptual and minimal art. (Oct.)