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Show Dogs

William Wegman’s secrets revealed.

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Benji and Garfield have nothing on William Wegman’s Weimaraners. The photographer’s droopy-eared models have been the obedient centerpieces of much of his work for four decades, appearing everywhere from MoMA to Sesame Street. There’s no serious figure whose work is a more kid-friendly introduction to contemporary art, and this weekend, Andrea Beeman, Wegman’s longtime assistant, will guide families through “William Wegman: Funney/Strange,” the Brooklyn Museum’s 40-year Wegman retrospective. Right out of the elevator, visitors will see a new photograph, The Upside of Down, in which one of the taupe canines appears to be floating in space. In The Hardly Boys in Hardly Gold, a Wegman film that was a 1995 Sundance favorite, the dogs even go sleuthing. Beeman will also draw kids to a series, commissioned by Nokia, that includes the dogs seeming to dance, bounce a ball, and respond to an alarm. Then she explains that for those films, Wegman didn’t shoot conventionally—he worked like an animator, photographing each frame as a still, then splicing them together like a flip book. “The dogs are just having a nice time sitting around,” she laughs. “It’s the humans who are doing the hard part.”

Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Pkwy., nr. Washington Ave., Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-638-5000 or brooklynmuseum.org ); $8 grown-ups, $4 seniors and students, free for kids 11 and younger.


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