Vik Muniz

February 28 - August 21, 2016



 

Object labels from the exhibition

 
 
11,000 Yards (The Helmingham Dell, after John Constable), from the Pictures of Thread series, 1999
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
20,000 Yards (Castle at Bentheim, after Jacob Van Ruisdael), from the Pictures of Thread series, 1999
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
16,200 Yards (Le Songeur, after Corot), from the Pictures of Thread series, 1996
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Faucet, from the Pictures of Wire series, 1994
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
The White Shirt, from the Pictures of Wire series, 1995
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Brooklyn Scene, from the Pictures of Wire series, 1994-1995
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Paper and Wire I, from the Pictures of Wire series, 1995
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Cloud Cloud Manhattan, from the Pictures of Clouds series, 2002
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Van Gogh's Bed, from the Pictures of Wire series, 1996
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Relaxation, from the Pictures of Wire series, 1994
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Early in his career, Muniz became interested in combining disparate media in his photographs, aiming to temporarily disorient viewers. His earliest forays into this area involved line drawing. His Pictures of Wire series -- photographs of wire sculptures printed on matte paper -- at first appear to be pencil drawings, revealing their true form only on closer inspection. Likewise, the densely layered yards of sewing thread used to re-create celebrated landscapes in Pictures of Thread mimic the line quality of etchings.
 
Hands, from the Pictures of Soil series, 1997
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Cloud Cloud Arizona, from the Pictures of Clouds series, 2000
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Cloud Cloud 59th Bridge, from the Pictures of Clouds series, 2002
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Cloud Cloud San Diego, from the Pictures of Clouds series, 2008
Gelatin silver print
Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco
 
Cloud Cloud Tampa, from the Pictures of Clouds series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco
 
After Richard Serra, "Prop," 1968, installed at the Whitney Museum in "Contemporary American Sculpture: Selection 2," April 4-May 5, 1969, from the Pictures of Dust series, 2000
Dye destruction print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Cloud Cloud Miami, from the Pictures of Clouds series, 2008
Gelatin silver print
Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco
 
For his series Pictures of Clouds, Muniz took the idea of combining drawing and photography to a playful extreme. He hired skywriters to draw cartoonish pictures of clouds in the skies above cities. The resulting photographs simultaneously fulfill and upend our expectations.
 
Double Mona Lisa (Peanut Butter and Jelly), from the After Warhol series, 1999
Chromogenic print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Old Cheyenne, from the Monads series, 2003
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Toy Soldier, from the Monads series, 2003
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
In his series Monads, Muniz began to work on a much larger scale than he had in his previous work, using recognizable objects as his medium. Struck by the profound sadness in a portrait of a child soldier during the Civil War, Muniz decided to re-create the photograph out of plastic soldiers. He assembled a distorted version of the image on the floor and photographed it from an angle to correct the perspective. As a result, some toy soldiers appear vastly larger than others, though they were all the same size. The f inal work is presented as a triptych with depictions of a horse and an American Indian, recalling subjects common to toy figurines.
 
Horse, from the Monads series, 2003
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Action Photo (after Hans Namuth), from the Pictures of Chocolate series, 1998
Dye destruction print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Fallingwater (Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr. Residence), from the Pictures of Chocolate series, 2009
Dye destruction print
Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco
 
Individuals, from the Pictures of Chocolate series, 1998
Dye destruction print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Big James Sweats Buckets, from the Sugar Children series, 1996
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Jacynthe Loves Orange Juice, from the Sugar Children series, 1996
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
São Paulo, from the Postcards from Nowhere series, 2014
Chromogenic print
Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo
 
Binoculars, from the Pictures of Soil series, 1998
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Lil Calist Can't Swim, from the Sugar Children series, 1996
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Tenten's Weed Necklace, from the Sugar Children series, 1996
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Valicia Bathes in Sunday Clothes, from the Sugar Children series, 1996
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
Valentine, The Fastest, from the Sugar Children series, 1996
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Leda and the Swan, after Leonardo da Vinci, from the Pictures of Junk series, 2009
Chromogenic print
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase through funds provided by patrons of the Second Annual Collectors Evening, 2011, 2011.6
 
Muniz has achieved a sort of alchemy in his Pictures of Junk series by transforming refuse-a substance we try to hide or ignore -- into something beautiful and compelling. Seen here from some forty feet above the floor, objects such as discarded hubcaps, pipes, appliances, and tires become the building blocks for an imaginative but ephemeral re-creation of Leonardo da Vinci's celebrated Renaissance painting Leda and the Swan. Leonardo's painting is in fact known only through copies, the original long lost. Muniz, with his characteristic sharp wit, has thus created a copy of a copy.
 
Medusa Marinara, from the After Warhol series, 1997
Dye destruction print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Mahana No Atua (Day of the Gods), after Gauguin, from the Pictures of Pigment series, 2005
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Throughout the history of painting, pigment has served as an essential material, ubiquitous but rarely seen in its raw form. In Pictures of Pigment, Muniz pays homage to this universal material by using it without the intervening presence of oil, egg, or any of the substances that bind the powder into recognizable paint. The work of Paul Gauguin, known for his use of vibrant and saturated colors, makes an appropriate subject for the series. In the lower portion of Mahana No Atua, Muniz has transformed an idyllic passage, showing a multitude of hues reflected in water, into pools of dry, saturated pigment.
 
Self-Portrait (I Am Too Sad to Tell You, after Bas Jan Ader), from the Rebus series, 2003
Dye destruction print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Marat (Sebastião), from the Pictures of Garbage series, 2008, printed 2011
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Muniz's Pictures of Garbage series exhibits his dedication to social justice, as documented in the 2010 documentary film Waste Land. He worked closely with a group of impoverished trash pickers, or catadores, at a Brazilian garbage dump to create vast assemblages modeled after famous historical artworks. The catadores helped in selecting and arranging objects and served as models. Muniz then sold works in the series to benefit the catadores. The reference for this photograph is Jacques-Louis David's 1793 painting The Death of Marat, which depicts the moment after the murder of Jean-Paul Marat, a radical leader of the French Revolution. Through his powerful painting, David transformed Marat into a political martyr. In Muniz's rendering, Tião Santos, head of the catadores union, takes on that role.
 
A Bar at the Folies-Bergère after Édouard Manet, from the Pictures of Magazines 2 series, 2012
Chromogenic print
Ben Brown Fine Arts, London
 
Out of the refuse of modern life -- torn scraps of outdated magazines, destined for obscurity -- Muniz has assembled an ode to one of the first paintings of modern life. Édouard Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, painted in 1882, explores the treachery of nineteenth-century Parisian nightlife through the depiction of a bartender attending to a male patron reflected in the mirror behind her. Muniz plays on Manet's style, replacing Manet's visible brushstrokes with the frayed edges of torn paper and lending the work immense visual interest.
 
Atlas (Carlão), from the Pictures of Garbage series, 2008, printed 2011
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Brillo Box, from the Pictures of Magazines 2 series, 2015
Pigmented inkjet prints on aluminum
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
In 1964, Andy Warhol first displayed his Brillo Boxes, identical replicas of commercial packaging, to the bewilderment and delight of the art world. The work raised questions about what art could be and the division between art and life. Here, Muniz humorously pays tribute to this important art-historical moment. He printed the photographs on sheets of aluminum and assembled them into a box shape, mimicking both Warhol's work and the original commercial object that inspired him.
 
The Gypsy (Magna), from the Pictures of Garbage series, 2008, printed 2011
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
After G. Richter, from the Pictures of Color series, 2001
Chromogenic print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
The Pantone Matching System, invented in 1963, assigned numerical values to colors, allowing people all around the world to replicate exact hues. Muniz found this system of quantifying the qualities of colors fascinating. For Pictures of Color, he reduced his source images to grids of Pantone color samples.
 
Here, he pays homage to the German painter Gerhard Richter, who painted a series of portraits of his daughter, Betty, in an exquisitely delicate Photorealist style. Muniz conjures Richter's original through an arrangement of scientifically precise Pantones that gives a pixelated effect. The gridded structure of Muniz's work refers to Richter's Color Charts series, hand-painted matrices of randomly selected tones. One of these inspired a Pictures of Pigment work on view nearby.
 
The Bearer (Irmã), from the Pictures of Garbage series, 2008, printed 2011
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Woman Ironing (Isis), from the Pictures of Garbage series, 2008, printed 2011
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Jerusalem, from the Postcards from Nowhere series, 2015
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Paris, from the Postcards from Nowhere series, 2015
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
The Sower (Zumbi), from the Pictures of Garbage series, 2008, printed 2011
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Mother and Children (Suellen), from the Pictures of Garbage series, 2008, printed 2011
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Narcissus, after Caravaggio, from the Pictures of Junk series, 2005
Chromogenic print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Saturn Devouring One of His Sons, after Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, from the Pictures of Junk series,
2005
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Zebra, after George Stubbs, from the Pictures of Magazines 2 series, 2011
Chromogenic print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Picking Flowers in a Field, after Mary Cassatt, from the Pictures of Magazines 2 series, 2012
Chromogenic print
Ben Brown Fine Arts, London
 
The Stone Breakers, after Gustave Courbet (Diptych), from the Pictures of Magazines series, 2013
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Woman and Bicycle, after Willem De Kooning, from the Pictures of Magazines series, 2012
Chromogenic print
Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo
 
Rouen Cathedral Façade, Morning Effect, after Claude Monet, from the Pictures of Pigment series, 2005
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
256 Colors, after Richter, from the Pictures of Pigment series, 2015
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Envelope (The Sarzedo Drawings), from the Earthworks series, 2002
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Mnemonic Vehicle ( Jaguar E type), 2014
Composite, polyurethane, Plexiglas, and aluminum. Box: UV inkjet print on paper on museum board
Courtesy of Reed Lowenstein and Melanie Hanan
 
In this work, Muniz transferred his playful subversion of expectations about scale to the medium of sculpture. The enlarged matchbox car embodies a contradiction: it is an obsessively detailed version of something that serves as an abbreviation for a highly detailed object. The sculpture is on a scale closer to that of a working vehicle but retains the limited facets of a small toy. Another work from the Mnemonic Vehicles series is on view on the Skyway level of this building.
 
Glasses, from the Earthworks series, 2002
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Hanger (The Sarzedo Drawings), from the Earthworks series, 2002
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Key (The Sarzedo Drawings), from the Earthworks series, 2002
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Pipe, from the Earthworks series, 2002
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Scissors, from the Earthworks series, 2002
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Sock, from the Earthworks series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Tooth (The Sarzedo Drawings), from the Earthworks series, 2002
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Loupe (Itabira, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2005
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Paper Plane (Sossego, Copper Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2005
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Frying Pan (Sossego, Copper Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Pacifier (Carajás N4, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Pointing Hand (Itabira Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Wrench (Carajás N4, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Hole (Carajás N4, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Dice (Itabira, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2005
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Male (Itabira, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2005
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Outlet (Fábrica, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2005
Dye destruction print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Plate (Azul, Manganese Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Eye ( João Pereira, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2005
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Ruler (Itabira, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2005
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Footsteps ( João Pereira, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2005
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Target (Fazendão, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2005
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Female ( João Pereira, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2005
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Bomb (The Sarzedo Drawings), from the Earthworks series, 2002
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Shovel (Sossego, Copper Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Magnet (Itabira, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2006
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Whistle (Carajás N4, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Faucet (Azul, Manganese Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Umbrella (Feijão, Iron Mine), from the Earthworks series, 2006
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
First Birthday, from the Album series, 2014
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
New Bicycle, from the Album series, 2014
Chromogenic print
Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo
 
George Stinney, Jr., from the Album series, 2015
Pigmented inkjet prints
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Within the space of three months in 1944, George Stinney, Jr., was arrested, accused of the murder of two young white girls, convicted in minutes by an all-white jury, and executed in an electric chair. At fourteen years old, he was the youngest person to be executed in twentieth-century America. Stinney's conviction was vacated in 2014. Muniz composed this portrait of the young boy -- modeled on his police booking photographs -- largely out of snapshots of white American families celebrating occasions both grand and quotidian, in which Stinney was never able to take part. Muniz, who grew up in Brazil under a military dictatorship, frequently addresses issues of social justice in his work. Also in this gallery is his recreation, in puzzle pieces, of Picasso's monumental war painting Guernica, which drew widespread attention to the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. In another work, Muniz trained cancer cells to grow in a decorative pattern, bringing order to a destructive force of nature. Muniz donated proceeds from the sale of works in the Colonies series to advance cancer research.
 
Guernica, after Picasso, from the Gordian Puzzle series, 2009
Chromogenic print
Private collection, courtesy of Martin Lawrence Galleries
 
Mnemonic Vehicle (Ferrari Berlinetta), 2014
Composite, polyurethane, Plexiglas, and
aluminum
Courtesy of the artist and Beyer Projects
 
What appears at a distance to be a vintage Ferrari is revealed on closer inspection as something much more whimsical: a life-size model of a matchbox car. Standing next to this work can give one the sense of having been shrunk to the size of a figure in a child's fantasy world. Artist Vik Muniz frequently experiments with scale in his photography; here, he brings that same sense of imagination to sculpture.
 
This work is part of the retrospective exhibition of Muniz's work on view on the second level of this building.
 
Khyber Pass, Self-Portrait as an Oriental, after Rembrandt, from the Pictures of Junk series, 2005
Chromogenic print
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase with funds from the H. B. and Doris Massey Charitable Trust, 2005.288
 
Dracula, from the Pictures of Caviar Monsters series, 2004
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Frankenstein, from the Pictures of Caviar Monsters series, 2004
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Che (Black Beans), from the After Warhol series, 2000
Chromogenic print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Monica Vitti, from the Pictures of Diamonds series, 2004
Chromogenic print
Ben Brown Fine Arts, London
 
Crowd at Coney Island, 89, They Came Early and They Stayed Late, July 1940, after Weegee, from the Pictures of Paper series, 2009
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Couple Central Park Zoo, after Garry Winogrand, from the Pictures of Paper series, 2008
Gelatin silver print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Migrant Mother, after Dorothea Lange, from the Pictures of Ink series, 2000
Chromogenic print
Collection of Brent Sikkema
 
Memory Rendering of Trang Bang, from the Best of Life series, 1989
Gelatin silver print
Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco
 
Memory Rendering of Saigon Execution, from the Best of Life series, 1989­1990
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Memory Rendering of 3D Screening, from the Best of Life series, 1989
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Memory Rendering of John Lennon in Manhattan, from the Best of Life series, 1989­1990
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Memory Rendering of Man on the Moon, from the Best of Life series, 1989
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Memory Rendering of John John Saluting, from the Best of Life series, 1990
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Memory Rendering of Man Stopping Tank in Beijing, from the Best of Life series, 1990
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Memory Rendering of Kiss at Times Square, from the Best of Life series, 1989
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Memory Rendering of Flag Raising at Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, from the Best of Life series,
1989­1990
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
Disaster (Hindenburg), from the Pictures of Ink series, 2000
Dye destruction print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Memory Rendering of Kent State Shooting, from the Best of Life series, 1990
Gelatin silver print
Galerie Xippas, Paris
 
The first book Muniz bought after moving to the United States in 1983 was called The Best of Life, a compendium of iconic photographs published in Life magazine. These well-known images serve as a shared visual vocabulary and universally resonant set of memories. Muniz challenged his own recollection of such recognizable photographs as the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima and the protestor standing in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square by drawing them without referring to the original images. While evoking the originals, his drawings deviate slightly, pointing to the fallibility of memory. Muniz photographed his drawings, blurring them slightly and printing them with a halftone screen to replicate how the photographs would have looked printed in mass media, as many people originally encountered them. The photographs draw upon the viewers' own memories of the originals, causing them to compare Muniz's renderings with the images in their own minds.
 
The Daydream, after Manuel Álvarez Bravo, from the Rebus series, 2008
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
Portrait of Alice Liddell, after Lewis Carroll, from
the Rebus series, 2003
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist
 
This work is based on a photograph taken by Charles Dodgson, better known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll. The subject is Alice Liddell (daughter of a nineteenth-century Oxford University dean), who served as the inspiration for Carroll's ode to childhood imagination, Alice in Wonderland. The jumble of toys Muniz used to assemble the image works in congress with the subject, inviting the viewer to remember the innocence and uninhibited creativity of childhood.
 
Vik, 2 Years Old, from the Album series, 2014
Chromogenic print
Purchase through funds provided by patrons of the Sixth Annual Collectors Evening, 2016, 2016.
 
When Muniz begins work on a new series and with a new set of materials, he almost always experiments first with a self-portrait. This photograph was the first successful image in the Album series and is a re-creation of a snapshot of the artist himself (one of only a few images that exist from his childhood) when he was two years old. The image is at once particular and generalized: the happy face is that of an individual, but the nostalgia that suffuses the composition feels broadly familiar because of the commonality of such snapshots.
 
Motherboard (Stem Cells), from the Colonies series, 2014
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Liver (Hepatocytes) Cell Pattern 1, from the Colonies series, 2014
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Sandcastle #3, from the Sandcastles series, 2013
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
Sandcastle #10, from the Sandcastles series, 2014
Chromogenic print
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
 
The Face of the Moon, after John Russell, from the Pictures of Pigment series, 2007
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist

 

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