Before/On/After: William Wegman and California Conceptualism
Metropolitan Museum of Art
This exhibition will survey Conceptual art as it developed in Southern California in the 1970s. It is occasioned by the artist William Wegman's extraordinary recent gift to the Museum of 174 short videos that he made between 1970 and 1999—his entire career in this medium. A 90-minute selection of videos from this gift will be shown, accompanied by photographs and drawings by Wegman as well as drawings, prints, and photographs by his contemporaries in Southern California such as John Baldessari, Vija Celmins, Douglas Huebler, Ed Ruscha, and others. Wegman took up video while studying painting at the University of Wisconsin. Like many artists using the then-new medium, Wegman appreciated video, like photography, for its lo-fi reproducibility and anti-artistic qualities—and unlike film, where the negative must be developed and processed before viewing, video was like a sketchbook that allowed revision in real time.