Vik MunizAmerican, born Brazil (São Paulo, Brazil, 1961)
Spiral Jetty after Robert Smithson, from the series Brooklyn, NY
The Brazilian artist Muniz was originally trained as a sculptor. His practice involves selecting well-known images or artworks, re-creating them in unconventional materials such as chocolate syrup, sugar, butter, or wire, and then photographing them.
For this series, Muniz constructed and then photographed small models of famous large-scale manmade structures, ranging from Stonehenge to outdoor sculptures by Robert Smithson and Gordon Matta-Clark. (The name of the series derives from the fact that Muniz made the re-creations in his Brooklyn studio.) Muniz's toy-size version of Smithson's Spiral Jetty (1970), an earth and rock sculpture extending 1,500 feet into the Great Salt Lake in Utah, playfully exposes the extreme monumentality and heroic, artist-explorer masculinity of the older work.
Muniz's photographs of his rather obvious imitations are designed to challenge or disrupt received ideas about document, history, and authenticity. Muniz explains, "I have always admired . . . people like Federico Fellini, who could not only tell stories, but also show you how much we need to believe them."