LAMA BLOG

Vik Muniz: Pictures of Appropriation

September 20, 2016

Brazilian-born artist Vik Muniz (b. 1961) is celebrated for his tongue-in-cheek appropriation of canonical paintings. In the past this has included a version of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa rendered in peanut butter and jelly, and a line drawing of Jackson Pollock made with chocolate syrup, appropriated from Hans Namuth’s 1950 photograph of the artist. Always careful to cite the original work in the title, Muniz selects his subjects with great care, choosing iconic works that symbolize our fascination with artistic genius. Muniz’s use of inexpensive, everyday materials gently skewers the reverence with which we regard these art historical classics.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 150, Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose, After Francisco de Zurbarán
(from Pictures of Magazines, Still Life), Vik Muniz, 2004
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose, After Francisco de Zurbarán (from Pictures of Magazines, Still Life) emulates Francisco de Zurbarán’s still life masterpiece, which is in the collection of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. Muniz employs new technologies to reproduce the priceless painting as a contemporary chromogenic print. This is not a straightforward reproduction, however. First, Muniz created a collage based on de Zurbarán’s painting, which he then photographed and reproduced as a chromogenic print. Made up of multiple small circles, this lends the work a mosaic-like appearance and further distinguishes it from the 17th century original. His adaptation of Ed Ruscha’s 1963 Standard Station, Amarillo Texas differentiates itself from its 1960s forebear through slight variations of color and detail on the roof line. Muniz employs cut automotive parts in this series, evoking the car-centric culture of Los Angeles, a touchstone in Ruscha’s work. In an interview, the artist has said, “The car parts series relates directly to the work of Ed Ruscha, whom I admire a lot. I was interested in exposing and deconstructing/analyzing our intimacy (including our tactile one) with used cars. I wanted to explore… a certain LA atmosphere, the gas station, a style that is well-known.” For Muniz, the act of appropriation simultaneously confirms and undermines our expectations.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 149, Standard Station (Night) After Ed Ruscha (from Pictures of Cars), Vik Muniz, 2008
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Muniz, Vik. Vik Muniz After Ed Ruscha. Palm Desert, CA: Imago Galleries, 2014. Print.

Lot Information:

Lot 149
Vik Muniz
Standard Station (Night) After Ed Ruscha (from Pictures of Cars)
2008
Chromogenic print
#6 of 6
Published by J. Carter Tutwiler
Retains signed artist’s label with edition verso
Image/sheet: 51″ x 95″; Frame: 58″ x 102″
Together with book Ed Ruscha, Vik Muniz and the Car Culture of Los Angeles
Provenance: Vik Muniz Studio, Brooklyn, New York;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above)
Literature: Vik Muniz: Obra Completa, 1987-2009, Catálogo Raisonné. P. Corrêa do Lago, ed. 2009. 613.; Ed Ruscha, Vik Muniz and the Car Culture of Los Angeles. 2011. 17.
Estimate: $50,000 – $70,000
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 150
Vik Muniz
Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose, After Francisco de Zurbaran
2004
Chromogenic print
#5 of 6
Image/sheet: 40″ x 67″; Frame: 44.625″ x 72.125″
Provenance: Vik Muniz Studio, Brooklyn, New York;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above)
Literature: Vik Muniz: Obra Completa, 1987-2009, Catálogo Raisonné. P. Corrêa do Lago, ed. 2009. 474.
Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

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