Are Documentaries About Artists More Important Than Their Work? Thinking About Vik Muniz and Waste Land

Matthew Israel
Sep 12, 2014 6:42PM

This week for my blog on The Huffington Post I considered the effect of the recent profusion of documentaries about artists. I began with a discussion of Waste Land, which chronicles the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz's collaboration with a group of catadores (Portuguese for picker), who pick out recyclable materials from Jardim Gramacho, Rio's largest landfill. 

Well-known for re-making iconic images with non-traditional materials, Muniz photographs the workers--often in the poses of famous artworks. He then recreates the photographs as large floor sculptures using the garbage they work with every day. Muniz then photographs the sculptures and sells them as prints to benefit the catadores. One work fetches $64,000 at a London auction (at Phillips de Pury). Having also grown up poor in Brazil, Muniz's success as an artist motivated him to collaborate with and give back to the catadores.

Read the full article here.

This week's focus is related to an ongoing series on individual works. Previous posts have concerned one of Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills, Jean-Michel Basquiat's Pegasus, 1987, Keith Haring's "Crack is Wack" mural, Banksy and Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. See all the posts in the series here.

Matthew Israel