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Introduction to "Identity"By William Wegman with Steve Martin

Identity opens with a whimsical collaboration between noted photographer and artist William Wegman and actor, playwright, and comedian Steve Martin.

In this opening segment, Martin (or is it just a mannequin that looks like him?) questions the fundamental nature of identity amidst playful diversions which include card tricks, the sound of a lawnmower in the distance, ringing doorbells, and Wegman’s agile Weimaraner dogs.

The zany opening was created by Wegman on a sound stage and plays with varying degrees of reality and theatrical illusion. At one point, Steve Martin is rendered motionless when it’s revealed that throughout the segment his hands have belonged to someone else—a puppeteer.

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William Wegman

William Wegman’s interests in areas beyond painting led him to photography and the then-infant medium of video. A central figure in his photography and videos, Wegman’s dog Man Ray became known in the art world and beyond for his endearing, deadpan presence. In 1972, Wegman and Man Ray moved to New York. In 1986, a new dog, Fay Ray, came into Wegman’s life; and soon thereafter another famous collaboration began, marked by Wegman’s use of the Polaroid 20-by-24-inch camera. With the birth of Fay’s litter in 1989 and her daughter’s litter in 1995, Wegman’s cast of characters grew.

"Identity"

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