VIK MUNIZ (b. 1961)

Vik Muniz was born Vicente José de Oliveira Muniz in 1961, in São Paulo, Brazil. He is an influential contemporary artist best known for his complex photographic and mixed media works. Sourcing a wide variety of eclectic and found materials such as chocolate, jelly, toys, and trash, Muniz recreates iconic historical works and scenes from popular culture. By displaying the final piece as a photograph, he explores memory, perception, and the nature of images as represented in arts and communication.

Layered appropriation is a consistent theme in Muniz’s work. In 2008, he undertook a large-scale project in Brazil, Pictures of Garbage, where he photographed trash-pickers as figures from emblematic paintings, such as Jacques-Louis David’s Neoclassical Death of Marat, and then recreated the photographs in large-scale arrangements of trash. The artist starred in the documentary film Waste Land (2010) which tracked the course of this project and helped raise awareness for urban poverty. Muniz explained the work as a “step away from the realm of fine art,” wanting instead to “change the lives of people with the same materials they deal with every day.”

Muniz was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for his social activism, and the artist has had his work exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, and the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Kasama Nichido Museum of Art in Japan, among others. He currently lives and works between Brooklyn, New York, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Trajetoria Adultera
silver gelatin print, in three parts, and foam cords
element A: 8 x 20 in.; element B: 12 1/2 x 20 in.; element C: 16 1/8 x 8 1/2 in.
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