Vik Muniz (Brazilian, b.1961) is a Contemporary visual artist who was born Vicente José de Oliveira Muniz (Brazilian, b.1961) in São Paulo, Brazil. Muniz began to discover art in the books he borrowed from his high school library. After studying advertising at the Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado de São Paulo, he moved to Brooklyn, NY, with his family in 1983. The artist began his career as a sculptor in the late 1980s, but he gradually became more interested in drawing and photography.

In 1988, Muniz explored the memory, perception, and images represented in arts and communication. He created The Best of Life, the series of drawings in which he reproduced from his memory some of the famous photographs he saw in the magazine Life. He then photographed his drawings to give more reality to his memories. In the mid-1990s, in order to create witty, bold, and often deceiving images based on photojournalism and art history, Muniz began to incorporate unusual and everyday materials into his photographic process. These materials included dust, diamonds, sugar, dry pigment, ketchup, caviar, and wire. In 1997, Muniz became well-known for his Pictures of chocolate series, in which he used chocolate syrup to create his works. The artist borrowed from popular culture and Old Masters artists such as Georges Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh to make his works more familiar. He called this approach the “worst possible illusion.”

In 1998, he participated in the 24th International Biennale in São Paulo, and in 2001, he represented Brazil at the 49th Biennale in Venice, Italy. In 2006, Muniz created the series Pictures of Junk. In 2010, the documentary Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker, followed Muniz for three years. During this time, the artist created art with recyclables at Jardim Gramacho, a landfill which serves the metropolis of Rio de Janeiro. Muniz collaborated with the people employed to pick out recyclable material from garbage and created large-scale mosaic portraits; these works were sold at art auctions in London and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo. The artist has had his work exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Kasama Nichido Museum of Art in Japan, among many other prestigious institutions. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

Timeline

1961
Born in São Paulo, Brazil
1983
Moved to New York, USA
Lives and works in Brooklyn, USA

Exhibitions

2014
"Poetics of Perception", Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Richmond, USA (solo)
2013
Vik Muniz - Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburg, USA
Murano-Merano - kunst Meran, Meran, Italy
More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, USA
Collection Centre national des arts plastiques, CENTRALE for contemporary art, Brussels, Belgium
Light Sensitive, Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, USA
2012
Richard Koh Fine Art, Singapore
Pictures of Magazine 2, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, USA Works of art CAC Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga Vik Muniz, CAC Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga, Málaga, Spain
Vik Muniz, Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, USA
Pictures of Magazine 2, Galerie Xippas France, Paris, France
Pictures of Magazine 2, Galerie Xippas Greece, Athens, Greece
2011
Vik Muniz, Jeonbuk Museum of Art, Gana Art Center, Seoul, Korea (solo)
Pure Paper, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, USA
La Mirada, Fotografien und Videos aus der Daros Latinamerica Collection, Museum der Moderne Rupertinum, Salzburg, Austria
The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, USA
Thanks for Being With Us: Contemporary Art from the Douglas Nielsen Collection, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, USA
Afterpost, Mas allá de la fotografía, Consejería de Educación de Andalucía, Sevilla, Spain
VaXiNation, Xippas Gallery, Athens, Greece
Gabinete Blanco, Fundación/Colección Jumex, State of Mexico, Mexico
Who Are You Close To, Jane Kim/Thrust Projects, New York, USA
Re:Creation, Serious Play with Canonical Art, Cerritos College Art Gallery, Norwalk, USA
Latinas!, The Nassau County Museum of Art, New York, USA
2010
Vik Muniz, nca | nichido contemporary art, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Relicário, Casa de Cultura Laura Alvim, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (solo)
Vik Muniz, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, USA (solo)
Verso, Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo, Brazil (solo)
Vik Muniz, Museum of the University of Fortaleza/Unifor, Fundação Edson Queiroz, Ceará, Brazil (solo)
Fragments latino-américains : 16 artistes, 9 pays, 40 ans d’images, Maison de l'Amérique Latine, Paris, France
Bittersweet: The Chocolate Show, Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers University, Newark, USA
A New Form of Memories: New York Contemporary Art Exhibition, Kasama Nichido Museum of Art, Kasama, Ibaraki, Japan
On the Mark: Contemporary Works on Paper, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, USA
The Dorothy And Herbert Vogel Colletion: Fifty Works for Fifty States, Traveling Exhibition – Various American Institutions
Rummaging in the rubbish: waste and recycling in Contemporary Art, Center of Art and Nature, Huesca, Spain
Leonard Drew and Vik Muniz, Sikkema, Jenkins and Co., New York, USA
2009
Vik Muniz & Janaina Tschape, Kasama Nichido Museum of Art, Ibaraki, Japan
Galerie Elba Benitez, Madrid, Spain
Ingres et les Modernes, Musée Ingres, Montauban, France
L’Invention d’un monde, collection of La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Itau Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil
Hydra School Project Artwalk, Hydra, Greece
Fragile- Terres d’empathie, Musée d’art Moderne, Saint Etienne, France
AMERICAS LATINAS – las fatigas del querer, Spazio Oberdan, Milan, Italy
Une image peut en cacher une autre (Archimboldo, Dali, Raetz), Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, France
Artist's Choice: Vik Muniz - Rebus, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
2008
Vik Muniz, Sikkema, Jenkins & Co, New York, USA
Art(e)merica Latina, été culturel, St. Tropez, France
Wetherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, USA
TRANSactions Contemporary Latin American and Latino Art, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA
This is Vik Muniz, CB Collection Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo, Japan
Vik Muniz, Arndt & Partner, Berlin, Germany
Vik Muniz, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, USA
Guangzhou Triennial-Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
To Russia with Love, Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Moscow, Russia
2007
Vik Muniz: A Survey, Pinchuk Foundation, Kiev, Ukraine
The Beautiful Earth, Galerie Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo, Brazil
A Terra e a Gente, Museum of Electricity, Lisbon, Portugal
Vik Muniz, New Manezh, Moscow, Russia
Pictures of People, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England
2006
Vik Muniz: Reflex, Contemporary Art Museum, University of South Florida, Tampa, USA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada; Miami Art Museum, Miami, USA; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, USA; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, USA; MoMA P.S.1, Long Island City, USA (solo)
Pictures of Pigment. Xippas Gallery, Paris, France (solo)
Vik Muniz, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, USA (solo)
BulFinch’s Recycling Yard: Vik Muniz Pictures of Junk, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, USA (solo)
Vik Muniz: Remastered Selections from the West Collection, Gadsden Arts Center, Quincy, USA (solo)
Into Me/Out of Me, MoMA P.S.1, Long Island City, USA
Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale, Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, USA
The Beautiful Game: Contemporary Art and Fútbol, Roebling Hall, USA
Joy Pop! Pop Art 1960’s- 2000’s: Selection of the Missumi Collection, Sompo Museum, Tokyo, Japan
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
2005
Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, Spain
Divas e Monstros, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil
Vik Muniz, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, USA
Cardi Gallery, Milan, Italy
Prisons After Piranesi, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
Die Akte Weimar, ACC Galerie, Weimar, Germany
2004
Moving Outlines, Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, USA
Universiy of South Florida, Tampa, USA
Galeria Elba Benitez, Madrid, Spain
Brent Sikkema Gallery, New York, USA
Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, USA
Xippas Gallery, Paris, France
Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Dublin, Ireland
Fotos de Revista., Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Latin American and Caribbean Art: MoMA at El Museo, El Museo del Barrio, New York, USA
Rebus, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco (solo)
Open House, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, USA
Hair: Untangling a Social History, The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, USA
Home Sweet Home, Cardi Gallery, Milan, Italy
2003
Both Sides of the Street: Celebrating the Corcoran’s Photograph Collection, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Museo D’Art Contemporanea Roma, Rome, Italy
Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Moving Pictures, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
Candy Bam, special project for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Public Art Fund, Brooklyn, USA
2002
Reparte, CU Art Galleries, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA (solo)
Brent Sikkema Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Laberint de Vik Muniz, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain
Vik Muniz: Model Pictures, The Menil Collection, Houston, USA (solo)
Visions from America: Photographs from the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1940-2000, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
Tempo, MoMAQNS, New York, USA
2001
Erotic, Galerie Xippas, Paris, France (solo)
Reparte, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, USA (solo)
Museum de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (solo)
Gallery Gan, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
Galeria Camargo Viaço, São Paulo, Brazil (solo)
Clouds, a skywriting project, Creative Time, New York, USA (solo)
Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Fortaleza, Brazil (solo)
The Things Themselves: Pictures of Dust by Vik Muniz, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
49th Venice Biennial: Brazilian Representation, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, Italy
2000
2000 Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
Galeria Camargo Vilaça, São Paulo, Brazil
Brazil: Body and Soul, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
1999
After Warhol, Galerie Xippas, Paris, France (solo)
Galerie JGM, Paris, France
Tate Gallery, London, England
Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, France
1998
XXIV Bienal Internacional de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Seeing is Believing, International Center of Photography, New York, USA (traveled Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, USA; Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, USA)
1997
New Photography XIII, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
1996
Wesenschau: Disingenuous Images, Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zurich, Switzerland
The Best of Life, Wooster Gardens, New York, USA (solo)
1995
Recent Acquisitions, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, USA
The Wine Pictures, Galeria Camargo Vilaga, São Paulo, Brazil
Panorama de Arte Contemporanea Brasiliera, Museo de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, Brazil
Mostra America, Fundação Cultural de Curitiba, Curitiba, Brazil
1994
Galeria Claudio Bartello, Turino, Italy
1993
Sound, Museo de Arte Moderna, Bolezano, Italy
Equivalents, PontPietra Gallery, Verona, Italy (solo)
1992
Diversité Latino Américaine, Galerie 1900/2000, Paris, France
Galerie Beaumont, Luxembourg
1991
Galerie Claudine Papillan, Paris, France
1989
Fluxus and Friend, Emily Harvey Gallery, New York, USA
1988
Stux Gallery, New York, USA

Public Collections

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Centro Cultural Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

Literature

2005
Muniz, Vik. Reflex: A Vik Muniz Primer. New York: Aperture, 2005.
2004
Muniz, Vik. Natura Pictrix: Essays and Interviews on Photography. New York: Edgewise Press, 2004.