Vicente José de Oliveira Muniz, known as Vik Muniz (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈvik muˈnis]; born 1961, São Paulo, Brazil), is a visual artist living in New York City. Muniz began his career as a sculptor in the late 1980s. In 2010, the documentary film Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker, featured Muniz’s work on one of the world’s largest garbage dumps, Jardim Gramacho, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. The film was nominated to the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 83rd Academy Awards.
Muniz specializes in remaking famous artworks with materials other than paint, and then photographing them. Muniz’s Olympia, a Cibachrome print of his chocolate-syrup rendering of Edouard Manet’s 1863 oil painting of the same title is an example of his work and is in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art.
Muniz makes photographs that look like something other than what they actually show, for example, photographing cotton to look like clouds.
Muniz has had solo shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art, The International Center of Photography, Paco Imperial in Rio, MACRO in Rome among others. His work is in the collections of the MOMA, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Daros Latin America, Zurich, Switzerland, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY,The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, Museu de Arte Moderna de Sao Pãulo, Brazil, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, Colección D.O.P., The Tate Gallery, London, UK, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN and The Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York City as well as the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Muniz arrived in New York in 1983 and worked as a framer. He also took theatre and scenography classes at the New School and the New York University. A friend lent him a studio, where he started his career as a sculptor, which led him to his first solo exhibit in 1988. He began experimenting with drawing and photography, ultimately combining these media in a series of images he made of families that worked on sugar plantations on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Beginning with Polaroids of several of the children of plantation workers, Muniz “drew” their images with sprinkled sugar and rephotographed these compositions. The finished work was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s “New Photography” exhibit in 1997.
Biography photo: WideWalls
São Paulo, Brazil 1961