Brazilian artist Vik Munizs exhibition of famous paintings re-created using garbage is on display at Mint Museum Uptown. Look closely at the reworking of Botticellis iconic Birth of Venus and youll notice that in place of Venuss long flowing hair are old frayed ropes.
Venus is rising out of the half-shell of the sea, says curator Carla Hanzal. Heres another Venus thats literally rising out of a sea of garbage.
The exhibit is called Garbage Matters. Its a collection of several large photographs by Muniz, who collected any sort of trash you can imagine tires, toilet seats, shoes, discarded pianos and then spent months arranging them on the floor of his warehouse.
And then he uses scaffolding several stories above the floor where hes ultimately able to take a photograph of what hes assembled on the floor and then make a print, says Hanzal.
One of those prints a reworking of Jacques-Louis Davids Death or Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat was presented as a gift to President Barack Obama during a trip to Brazil. Its one of the photographs on display at the Mint, and its a mini tie-in to next weeks Democratic National Convention.
The choice of Munizs medium is no accident. Hanzal says theres a message in all that trash.
Garbage really does reflect our values, says Hanzal. Its the material that we quickly cast aside, and its stockpiling in these giant landfills that we can see from space. I think its his way of drawing attention to the great monuments were leaving behind as a culture and also bringing what is considered really ugly, discarded and transforming it into something really beautiful.
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