William Wegman is best known for his humorous photographs of dogs posed in various domestic predicaments and recognizable scenarios, including roller skating, vacuuming, and playing the roles of fairy tale protagonists. The artist once said, “Dogs have always seemed to like me. They come to me.” When he was living in Southern California in the fall of 1970, a Weimaraner puppy did just that and found its way into Wegman’s life. He named the pooch Man Ray, and the canine companion, and many to follow, became central figures in the artist’s photographs and video works. In Sitting Airedale with Tale, the strong facial features and traditional medium-length tan and black coat of an Airedale Terrier are mimicked in festive Christmas garland. We are left to wonder if a real tail exists at all in the “tale” Wegman is telling.
Label from Menagerie: Animals on View, March 11–June 4, 2017