Vik Muniz (and me)

Now at the San Jose Museum of Art, the exhibition “So, Who Do You Think You Are?”, in which

Through portraiture and the figure, artists explore the notion of individual identity and the commonality of our human nature. [9/25/11 – 1/15/12]

Among the works in the show is Vik Muniz’s 2003 Self Portrait (I Am Too Sad to Tell You, after Bas Jan Ader) (Rebus), a chromogenic print:

From the Artnews site:

Since the mid 1990s, Muniz has been incorporating everyday objects 
into his photographic process to create witty, bold, and often deceiving
 images based on photojournalism and art history. The Brazilian-born,
 New York-based artist makes pictures from dirt, diamonds, sugar,
 wire, string, chocolate syrup, peanut butter, dust, ketchup, the circular
 paper remnants made by hole punches, junk, pigment, and other 
materials. Though Muniz’s images are often familiar — borrowing from
 popular culture and Old Master artists — it is quickly evident that they
 are not what they seem. Using an approach that the artist calls “the
 worst possible illusion,” the works are formed from materials gathered
 from everyday life, which Muniz arranges and photographs, rather
 than traditional artistic materials.

My parallel: a photo taken about ten years ago by Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky:

(Note the wedding-equivalent ring.) Taken during an exhausted moment at Jacques’s dementia care facility.

[Added 9/30/11: And now in the “Goings on about town: Art” section of the New Yorker of October 3rd, an entry for Vik Muniz’s current exhibition at Sikkema Jenkins (through October 15th):

The title of Muniz’s latest series of photographs, “Pictures of Magazines 2,” is, predictably, both literal and misleading. The pictures are collaged from torn scraps of magazines that are greatly enlarged in the massive, grainy final product, an art-historical image that comes together only when you see the work from a distance. The accumulation of brushstrokes in paintings by Degas, Caillebotte, Cézanne, and Caspar David Friedrich is suggested by the rough edges of bits of paper, but the content of those bits (Kate Moss, Woody Allen, a body builder, the Chanel logo) suggests the irresistible tug of pop culture, and the utter confusion of medium and message.

It’s hard to appreciate this from the reproduction above, but Muniz’s self-portrait is composed of similar bits of paper.]

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