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Life Arts

Mediated Knowledge Displayed As If It Were a Landscape: Eleven Works by Vic Muniz

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"How many people know Smithsons' Spiral Jetty? For most, the gargantuan work is no larger than a page in a book or magazine. How many people have actually seen children sprayed with napalm, the surface of a nearby planet or open-heart surgery? Mediated knowledge comes with strings attached: it substitutes the opacity of not seeing with the transparency of seeing through. The Black Forest of myth has been replaced by a crystal garden of holographic distortions. We are now blinded by our ability to see through everything. The man who stands on top of Spiral Jetty can't see it any better than the man who gazes at it in a book.

Spiral Jetty on the Great Salt Lake, by Jesse Nix at Flickr

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My work attempts to define these mediations as if they were a landscape. Like a nineteenth century easel painter, and much like an impressionist would insist happens, I try to render the scenery of signs and depict things as I see them. The landscape has changed, but the role of the artist remains the same: to shed light on the complexities in the relationship between mind and phenomena.

Documentation and dissemination have become fused with the ideas of the events and things themselves."

Vik Muniz, 2002

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Picture of Vic Muniz (2002)

The eleven works:

Day of the Gods, after Gauguin (2006)

Rouen Cathedral on a Grey Day, after Monet (2005)

Harmony in Red, after Matisse (undated)

Haystack 4 (2001)

Alice Liddell, after Lewis Carroll (2004)

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Socrates (1998)

Emerson (1998)

Individuals (1997)

Bomb (2002)

Pictures of Dust (2000)

Memory Rendering of the Man on the Moon (1995)


Words and images courtesy of Vic Muniz and artnet's Artist Works Catalogues. At its AWC there is this: "...artnet offers these catalogues free to the public as an educational resource. Simply click on an individual artist's image to begin, and check back often to browse new catalogues."


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"How could I fail to speak with difficulty? I have new things to say." I graduated from Stanford Law School in 1966 but have never practiced. Instead, I dropped back five years and joined The Movement, but it wasn't until the 1970's that I (more...)

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