DOWN EAST MAGAZINE
William Wegman's Ode to Maine
“William Wegman: Hello Nature” focuses on the work the famed artist produced in Rangeley. Don’t be afraid to laugh along.By Will Bleakley
You’ll often see someone with an amused smirk at an art gallery. Oh, I get it. That juxtaposition is so clever, the smile says. Rarely, though, does an exhibit elicit physical laughter. Yet during a recent visit to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art for the “William Wegman: Hello Nature” exhibition, the sounds of laughing patrons were impossible to ignore. Children, perhaps seeing Wegman’s famous Weimaraner photos for the first time, giggled at the sight of a dog, dressed in a flannel L.L.Bean shirt and fishing vest, posing as a Maine motel clerk. Their grandparents, across the room, chuckled as they flipped through Wegman’s parody of a nature book titled Field Guide to North America and to Other Regions. It’s hard to imagine a prestigious art exhibit succeeding at generation-spanning comedy, but from the sounds of high-and-low pitched squeals of approval across the museum floor, “Hello Nature” achieves just that.