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Vik Muniz: Wikis


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Vik Muniz (born 1961) is a Brazilian born, New York based artist who experiments with media. His works are fleeting and consist of objects arranged to make an image, he then photographs the arrangement resulting in the final piece.



Vik Muniz began his career as a sculptor in the late 1980’s after relocating from Brasil to Chicago and later to New York. His early work grew out of a post-Fluxus aesthetic and often involved visual puns and jokes. His most famous work from this period is “Clown Skull”, a human skull augmented w/ a clown-nose shaped protuberance.

Muniz’s work begins to take on its mature form with The Best of Life (1990) where he drew pictures of photographs included in the coffee table book “The Best of Life” from memory after losing the book in a move. The drawings were subsequently photographed and shown as photographs, a practice that Muniz continues.

Muniz followed “The Best of Life” with Equivalents (1993), Pictures of Wire (1994), and Pictures of Thread (1995) in which he developed the other aspect of his characteristic style by making the drawings out of readily recognizable non-art materials (i.e. cotton, wire, or thread). This process of making a drawing out of a nontraditional material and then photographing it has been central to Muniz’s work ever since.

The next major step in his career came with “Sugar Children” (1996) for which he received critical acclaim. The New York Times reviewed the show and Muniz was invited to participate in the 1997-1998 New Photography exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Since then Muniz has gone on to work in many materials (chocolate syrup, caviar, diamonds, junk, earthworks and pigment to name a few) and has exhibited his work in major museums and galleries around the world. Recently, Mr. Muniz has curated a show at MoMA as part of the Artist's Choice series, seen the second printing of Reflex:A Primer (originally published by Aperture in 2005), and been featured in the award winning documentary Wasteland (2010).

Public Lectures

January 27, 2010. Keynote speaker at the Fourth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge, MA.
October 1, 2009. Annual Plonsker Family Lecture in Contemporary Williams College Museum of Art Brooks- Rogers Recital Hall, Williamstown, Massachusetts
February 11, 2009. Artist’s Choice: Vik Muniz, Rebus gallery talk. Museum of Modern Art. New York, New York.
December 4, 2008. Art Basel Miami Beach / Art Basel Conversations, Artist Talk panel - with Vik Muniz and Chuck Close moderated by Richard Flood, Miami, FL
December 2, 2008. Coversation: Vik Muniz, Eva Respini & Joachim Pissarro, at Hunter College, NY, NY
April 15-16, 2009. An Evening with Vik Muniz. Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Celebrity Lectures. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.
October 15, 2008. Studio Visit and Lectures. Stanford University, Department of Art History. SF, CA
October 14, 2008. Lecture at the California College of Art, Curatorial Practice Program. SF, CA
March 13, 2008- The Artists’ Visions Lecture series at 92nd St. Y , mediated by Rob Storr.
September 18, 2007. Lecture at NYU Interactive Telecomunications Program, New York University, NY
March 20, 2007. Lecture at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
March 1, 2007. Guest Speaker. Mellon Foundation's Collaborative Workshop in Contemporary Photography. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. New York.
January 31, 2007. Public lecture at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Gateshead. UK.
November 9, 2006. Artist Lecture at Seattle Art Museum concurrent with exhibition, Vik Muniz: Reflex.
March 29, 2006. Photographers' Lecture Series at ICP, NY.
March 17, 2006- Art Photography Now. Seminar at Tate Gallery moderated by Susan Bright author of. Other guests artists: Wolfgang Tillmans, James Welling, Joy Gregory and Erwin Wurm.
March 16, 2006- Guest Speaker at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London, UK.
February 15, 2005- Public lecture at the Arizona State University Art Museum. Tempe, Arizona.
February 27, 2004. Guest Speaker at the TED Conference. Monterey, California,
Summer 2003- Residency program of the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL. Master-Artist-in-Residency October 6- 26, 2003.
September 2003- Lecture. Photography Department. The Art Institute Chicago. Chicago, Illinois.
April 2003- Conversation with Contemporary Artists: The Family Edition. MoMA, New York, NY.
February 13, 2003- Visiting Artist for the New York University Master of Arts program. New York University, New York.
September 2002. Guest lecturer. Artist at the Institute.
Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, New York. Spring 2002- Photographer in Residence Bard College, New York.
November 2001 – Brazil: Body and Soul. Lecture with Edward Sullivan, Professor of Fine Arts, New York University at Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts.
October 2001- Lecture Guest artist at Pratt Institute. Brooklyn, New York.
October 2001 – Artist Lecture at Henry Art Gallery, Co- Sponsored by the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington.
Summer 2001- Residency Program at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine.
October 20, 2000. Eyeing Clayton lecture at The Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Artist-in-Residence program.

Selected Public Collections

21C Museum Foundation, Louisville, KY ABN AMRO Art Foundation, Amsterdam, Netherlands Ackland Art Museum. The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut Art Gallery of South Australia, Adlaide, South Australia The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Ball State University Art Museum, Muncie, Indiana Banco de España, Madrid, Spain The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York The Bohen Foundation, New York, New York Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, Paris Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno Cabildo de Gran Canária, Canary Island, Spain Centro Cultural Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, CAC. Malaga, Spain Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland Chase Art Program, New York, New York Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA. The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. The Contemporary Museum of Honolulu, Hawaii Dallas Museum of Art, Texas Daros Latin America, Zürich Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA Denver Art Museum, Denver Deutsche Bank, New York, New York Exit Art, New York, NY Eileen and Peter Norton, Santa Monica Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris The Frick Art and Historical Center, Pittsburgh, PA Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, Spain Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY Gana Art Center, Seoul, Korea George Eastman House, Rochester, New York Greene Miami Art Museum, Coral Gables, Fl The High Museum of Art, Atlanta Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam, Netherlands Hyundai International Division Gallery, Seoul, Korea Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Brumadinho, MG, Brazil International Pacific College, Kobe City, Japan Instituto Itau Cultural, São Paulo, SP, Brazil The International Center of Photography, New York IVAM - Centro Julio González, Valencia, Spain Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland Israel Museum, Jerusalem The Jewish Museum, New York J.P. Morgan Chase, New York, NY The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah. NY La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles The MacArthur Foundation, Chicago MAP - Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, MG Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas The Metropolitan Bank & Trust Collection, Cleveland, Ohio Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College, Chicago, IL The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas The Museum of Modern Art, New York Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, VT Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas Montclair Museum, Montclair, NJ Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec Museu Bibliográfico Luis Angel, Bogotá, Colombia Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC), León, Spain Museo de Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Museu de Arte Moderna Aloísio Magalhães, Pernambuco, Brazil Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan National Gallery of Artl Washington DC The National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. The National Museum of Art, Osaka City, Japan Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida Neuberger & Berman, New York, New York New York Public Library, New York Nichido Contemporary Art Da Vinci, Tokyo, Japan Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA Orlando Museum of Art, Florida Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona The Princeton University Museum of Art, New Jersey The Progressive Corporation, Mayfield Village, Ohio Prudential Foundation, Newark, New Jersey The Rhode Island School of Design Modern Art Museum, Rhode Island Reader’s Digest, Pleasantville, New York Rose Art Museum. Brandeis University, Waltham, MA Rooseum, Malmo, Sweden The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington Seattle University, Seattle, Washington The Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, Missouri The San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska S.M.A.K. -Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent, Belgium The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York The Speed Museum Louisville, Kentucky Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas Sun America Investments Inc., Los Angeles, CA The Tate American Fund, New York, NY The Tate Gallery, London, UK Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel The Victoria and Albert Museum, London University Art Museum, State Universe of New York, Albany, New York University of Virginia Art Museum, Charlottesville, Virginia Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC The West Collection at SEI, PasadenaThe Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan

Other Facts

Vik Muniz made two detailed replicas of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa: one out of jelly and the other out of peanut butter. He has also worked in sugar, wire, thread, and Bosco Chocolate Syrup, out of which he produced a recreation of Leonardo's The Last Supper. He has reinterpreted a number of Monet's paintings, including paintings of the cathedral at Rouen, which Muniz accomplished using small clumps of pigment sprinkled onto a flat surface.

In his picture of Sigmund Freud, he uses chocolate to render the image. For his Sugar Children series, Muniz went to a sugar plantation in St. Kitts to photograph children of laborers who work there. After he returned to New York, he bought some black paper and several kinds of sugar, and copied the snapshots of the children by layering the different types of sugar on the paper and photographing it. He made the images from the sugar at the plantation.

More recently he has been creating larger-scale works, such as pictures carved into the earth (geoglyphs) or made of huge piles of junk. For his "Pictures of Clouds" series, he had a skywriter draw cartoon outlines of clouds in the sky.

At Neiman Marcus’s 81st annual "Christmas Book" in 2007 buyers could commission one of Muniz’s "His & Hers" chocolate portraits for $110,000 and receive a 60-by-48-inch museum-quality photo of the work. Muniz donated the proceeds of the sales to the Centro Espacial Rio de Janeiro, a charity arts organization for poor children and teenagers in Brazil. “Poor people need money,” Muniz says, according to ARTINFO. “You need to help them directly. I don’t believe in political art. Raising awareness: You have the newspaper for that.” [1]

Muniz has had solo exhibition at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa, Florida currently called "Vik Muniz: Reflex". This exhibition, organized by the Miami Art Museum, was on display at the Seattle Art Museum and the PS1 Contemporary Art Museum in New York. This exhibit is currently showing at the Musee d'Art Compemporain in Montreal, Quebec (Canada) until January 6, 2008. He has also published "Reflex - A Vik Muniz Primer" (2005: Aperture Foundation, New York) which contains a compilation of his work and his own commentary upon it.

His work has also been featured in "The Hours -Visual Art of Contemporary Latin America" (2007)- an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


  1. ^ Allen Strouse (October 24, 2007), VOICES: For the Price of a Chocolate Portrait..., ARTINFO,, retrieved 2008-04-24 

External links



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