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William Wegman - Exhibitions - Sperone Westwater

Dressed to Boots, 1996

Press Release

Sperone Westwater is pleased to present “William Wegman: Favorite Models,” a show of eight 20” x 24” Polaroids taken between 1989 and 2007.

Spanning over 35 years of work with the large format Polaroid camera, this solo exhibition highlights the specific talents of Wegman’s favorite models: Fay, Batty, Chip, Penny and Candy. Fay demonstrates her impressive concentration, Batty her effortlessly flexible posability, Chip his knack for looking fashionable, Penny her classical perfection and Candy her ability to be just one of us. In the introduction to the 2017 book William Wegman: Being Human, William A. Ewing explains that “people cognizant of Wegman’s stature in the art world may not be fully aware of the scope of his interests in photography, and it often comes as a surprise to see how over the years his work has dealt with so many subjects and genres.” Wegman’s images explore a wide range of topics from art and artists to fashion and philosophy. “The impressive panoply of interests aside, much of Wegman’s collaborative work, though far from all of it, might be resumed under the venerable photographic traditions of the portrait and the nude. In both genres the photographer borrows from strategies and techniques with deep histories,” says Ewing. In the 2014 exhibition “Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves,” historian Ann-Janine Morey thought about “what it means to be human, and about how that meaning might shift across times and places.”

Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1943, William Wegman received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston and an MFA from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His work has been exhibited extensively in both the United States and abroad, including solo exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1982); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1988); Whitney Museum of American Art (1992); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2001); and The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2002). The retrospective “William Wegman: Funney/Strange” was held at the Brooklyn Museum, and traveled to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach; the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover; and Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus (2006-07). Other surveys include the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Maine (2012); Jepson Center, Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA (2017); Shelburne Museum (2019). In 2018, the Metropolitan Museum of Art organized “Before/On/After: William Wegman and California Conceptualism.” “William Wegman: Being Human,” an international touring exhibition of his large-format Polaroids, traveled to venues including Palais de L’Archevêché, Arles; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand; MASI, Lugano; Photomuseum den Haag, The Hague; and Seoul Arts Center, Seoul, Korea (2018-21). Wegman’s work is in many important public collections including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center; and Whitney Museum of American Art. Since his first exhibition at Sperone Westwater in 1990, Wegman has exhibited regularly at the gallery (1992, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2022).

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