Vik Muniz is a major Brazilian artist known for reproducing iconic images with everyday materials and photographing them, or the reverse, taking everday photographs and producing images.
Vik Muniz is always turning your assumptions upside down
Muniz lives and works in New York City and Rio de Janeiro. He was born in São Paulo, Brazil in 1961. Muniz has been exhibiting in solo shows since 1989. His work is in major museum collections all over the world. Muniz is one of the few contemporary Latin artists to have a strong presence in the auction aftermarket.
He exhibits a very Brazilian humor, irony, and cleverness with materials. In the same way that a Brazilian can turn a tin can into a football or a full drum kit, Muniz turns everyday things into art.
In 2012 Vik cited mosaics at an Italian church as one of his inspirations. He is a mosaic artist, but his materials can be absolutely anything.
Whether it’s sugar, or coffee, or diamonds, or garbage, Muniz will make you look. Then he will make you look again. Your first reaction is, “What?” Then you have to laugh, “Oh my god, that’s…” Just fill in the blank.
Muniz was originally a sculptor who would document his work with photographs. Then he started making work to be photographed. Some of it can only survive as a photograph. A chocolate painting is very hard to keep fresh. The fact that the chocolate painting might look like a famous photograph from art history is the fun of it.
Vik Muniz is always turning your assumptions upside down. His last exhibition at Sikkema Jenkins in 2014, Albums was a series of images produced from the kinds of photographs people put in family photo albums.
Vik’s art goes beyond the visual into social commentary. Albums commented on how the shift from chemical-based, tangible photography into digital photography diminishes our experience, especially now that it has become customary for people to share everyday minutia online.
Vik is one of those artists who, if you can, you should go to see the actual art. If you see something you like, remember his auction aftermarket. Vik Muniz is still young, but he has nowhere to go but up.
The artist’s web site is www.VikMuniz.net
Vik Muniz in New York City
Vik goes abstract while staying true to his process with Epistemes a show of his new series Handmade at Sikkema Jenkins & Co February 23 – April 1, 2017. The exhibition opens with a reception THursday, February 23 from 6-8pm. Vik was at his last opening. He might be there.
The main image is courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Tears (2SS), Handmade, 2016
41 x 61 inches (104.1 x 154.9 cm), framed
For more information, visit www.SikkemaJenkinsCo.com
Perfect Strangers is a series of glass mosaics installed in the walls of the 72nd Street station of the new Second Avenue Subway in the Upper East Side. The series is installed in the station’s main atrium so you can use any entrance to see it. Muniz designed many of the pieces so you can stand in and take pictures with the art.
The series makes a play on words. The images are mosaics of people based on staged photographs of people the artist knows. They are “perfect” strangers because they are regular people. Muniz himself is the guy stumbling after a briefcase full of papers.