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Vik Muniz (Brazilian, b.1961)

Photography

Birth Place: São Paulo, Brazil

Biography:

Who is Photographer Vik Muniz?

Vik Muniz is a popular photographer, whose use of unconventional mediums (including chocolate syrup, dirt, and tomato sauce) has led to worldwide popularity with both the art establishment and commercial interests. He was brought to an even larger audience thanks to the film Waste Land, which centered on Muniz’ work on Jardim Gramacho, one of the world’s largest garbage dumps. The film was nominated for an academy award.

Muniz often uses popular figures as subjects for his work. Past photographs have featured Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and Maria Callas. His medium often mirrors his subjects, with both high and low ends of the artistic spectrum represented. It is as likely for Muniz to use chocolate syrup for a piece as it is for him to use Cibachrome and ilfoflex. No matter the medium, a Muniz work is both challenging and accessible, no rare feat for an artist, and one that has led to his popularity with collectors and the general public.

What type of art does Vik Muniz create?

Vik Muniz is a photographer and sculptor. His work uses found objects and other unconventional materials like magazine clippings, dust, and dirt. He’s done interesting work, pioneering the use of chromogenic prints. While his work challenges his audiences, it’s rare in that it has also enjoyed commercial success. He’s been exhibited worldwide and was featured in the 2010 documentary Waste Land.

How often do Vik Muniz photographs come up for auction?

Vik Muniz is still a relatively young artist, but his commercial success coupled with an ambitious work schedule has led to frequent auctions of his work. His Diamond Series of old movie stars and dancers has been extremely popular at auction, and many of his other works have enjoyed high auction prices. Many of outperformed their high estimates by a significant number.

How much is a Vik Muniz photograph worth?

Because of his pop subjects (movie stars and dancers), daring techniques, and perfect execution, a Vik Muniz photograph is often sold for over $100,000 at auction. While lesser-known works can sell for tens of thousands of dollars, there is enough of an auction record to show that Muniz's work is some of the most lucrative and sought-after in the photography world.

Which Vik Muniz photograph is the most valuable?

The most valuable photograph by Vik Muniz is The Best of Life -- Portfolio (unknown) which sold for $150,000 in 2017. The piece, which features John Lennon, the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, and many iconic images of the 20th century consisted of ten gelatin silver prints. His best performing Cibachrome print is Double Elvis (From Pictures of Chocolate) (1999) sold for $131,000 in 2014 -- nearly doubling its suggested estimate.

What are the most famous photographs by Vik Muniz?

Vik Muniz pieces are often famed for their cheeky sense of humor. His recreation of a Hans Namuth portrait of Jackson Pollock with Bosco Chocolate Syrup is often pointed to as classic Vik Muniz. Beyond this, his Diamond Series and his Pictures in Garbage have resonated with both critics and the general public.


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