Sunday, July 29, 2012

William Wegman's Dog Portraits

There's an article about William Wegman in today's U-T, and since I didn't know anything about him,  I decided to check.

Here's an example of his work:
The gushing paragraph that accompanies the photos is to my mind, pretty representative of the sort of art (or literary) criticism you have to digest in college classes: "This artistic approach to exhibiting man’s best friend is a refreshing twist to the mundane snap shots of pets as so often seen..."

I prefer the "mundane" snap shots that Rob takes at the dog park.

Some years ago when we were on a trip through Northern California, I stopped at a bookshop and on impulse bought a book called Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics, by Burton Silver, illustrated by Heather Busch. Reading it in the motel that night, I literally fell out of bed, I was laughing so hard.
It purported to be a critique of serious feline art, examples of which may be seen in the Museum of Non-Primate Art in Tokyo. 

An example: Near the end of the book is a photograph of a cat with a mouse dangling from her mouth. the caption reads: "...Radar prepares a mouse for one of her nocturnal installations. These sometimes involve the use of stairs to create interesting spatial juxtapositions."

Below that is a large photograph of an "installation," consisting of two dead mice on a carpet.

Everyone I know who studied either art or literature in college (I was an English major) finds the book hysterically funny. People who have never had the pleasure of taking an art criticism class can't understand what's so amusing about it.

Before I met Rob, our family had a cat named Pumpkinhead who used to put live mice in milk bottles for the milkman to pick up in the morning. Was she creating works of art?

I think milk bottles with mice are a "refreshing twist" on "mundane" bottles full of milk.