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Retrospective: Vik Muniz

JerusalemVik Muniz
Copyright Vik Muniz

The image is from Vik Muniz’s body of work called Postcards from Nowhere. Using many shredded postcards, he re-assembles the scraps to represent something entirely different, in this case, a panorama of Jerusalem. As Ben Brown Fine Arts gallery in Hong Kong elaborates: “Muniz explores ideas of memory, nostalgia and intimacy through his collection of vintage postcards re-purposed to create vibrant vistas of iconic cities and landmarks around the world.” This assemblage of postcard scraps is one of many diverse works by Muniz now on view at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Muniz, considered one of the 21st century’s most innovative artists, is Brazil’s most renowned mixed media artist/photographer. Working over the years with a variety of materials—including chocolate syrup, magazine clippings, scraps of postcards, diamonds and even found objects from garbage and junk piles—he assembles such materials to painstakingly create elaborate images often inspired by iconic works from pop culture and art history. He subsequently records his transitory creations with his camera. Among his earlier works, we’ve always especially liked his images collectively called “Pictures of Junk,” some of which resemble classic European paintings.

From a humble Brazilian background, Muniz has become appreciated worldwide. The Wall Street Journal, in fact, just ran (in the June, 2016 WSJ Magazine—“What’s News” section) a story about Muniz’s current efforts, in a Rio de Janeiro shantytown, to build a school offering free arts-oriented classes to local children. Muniz says that working with children has been “a way for me to re-connect with the poor boy that I left here.” Also noteworthy is his collaboration with Rio’s garbage handlers, chronicled in the Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary, Waste Land, that drew attention to their plight and helped raise money for their union.

He is represented by select galleries (Edwynn Houk Gallery and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., both in New York City—and others) and in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Gallery, London; and the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris. Today, he lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

If you’re in the Atlanta area, don’t miss his current retrospective (through August 21, 2016) at the High Museum of Art (www.high.org).



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