Reflex: A Vik Muniz Primer

Vik Muniz, Author, Vik Muniz, Photographer . Aperture $38.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-931788-40-3

Muniz's cockeyed account of his life and art, when it doesn't sidetrack into irritating displays of the artist's egotism, shines with an inventive charm. Chronicling his rise from poor Brazilian immigrant to highly successful New York artist, the volume is beautifully designed, with the pleasing heft of a high school textbook, and packed with illustrations. Since the early 1990s, Muniz has created densely referential photographs of his own drawings and collages. These generally involve some kind of conceptual trickiness about representations of representations—a copy of a Cézanne still life, for example, composed of tiny circles punched out of magazines, or a recreation in chocolate syrup of a famous photograph of Jackson Pollack. The book is also a mini-museum of the wide-ranging obsessions that fuel Muniz's work, with images drawn from art and science and quirky sidebar quotations from the likes of Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau and, yes, Vik Muniz. But the goofy appeal of Muniz's work makes it worth enduring his displays of self-regard. Who could resist his sublimely silly notion of skywriting a childlike drawing of a cloud? Despite all the distracting excesses of Muniz the writer, this volume is a graphically sumptuous—and appropriately whimsical—showcase for Muniz the artist. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/01/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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