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about this work

At first glance, this photograph appears relatively straightforward: a stuffed parrot is positioned on a pedestal, illuminated by dramatic, ominous lighting. Upon closer inspection, though, it becomes clear that there is a sight gag occurring in the background. The shadow cast by the parrot is not the parrot’s own, but rather that of a crow. The photograph functions, on one level, as a visual joke, delivered with William Wegman’s characteristic deadpan irony. At the same time, by demonstrating how a photographic image is not necessarily a “true” transcription of reality, Crow engages in a distinctly postmodern critique of traditional assumptions about the photographic medium.

William Wegman, Crow, 1970  92.15
William Wegman, Crow, 1970. Gelatin silver print, 10 3/16 × 10 1/4 in. (25.9 × 26 cm). Edition no. 11/70. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Mrs. Percy Uris Purchase Fund and the Photography Committee  92.15 For Teachers
© William Wegman