Vik Muniz has persisted as one of the most innovative and wonderfully confounding artists of the last 20 years. His work has consistently and intelligently challenged the conventions of artistic authorship and Muniz's new project Verso is certainly no exception. For Verso, the artist recreated in exact scale, detail and craftsmanship, the backs of canonical work of art from the conservation departments of MOMA, the Guggenheim and the Art Institute of Chicago. With an obsessive attention to detail, the "authentic looking labels, worn-away tape, faded pencil notations and actual period hardware and carpentry make it hard even for an expert to disbelieve they are seeing the actual backs of these masterpieces." From an unpublished interview in 2005, Muniz asserts:
"Whenever someone wants to see if an artwork is 'real', the first gesture is to look at its back or at it's base; the part of it that normally isn't visible to anyone else but experts, dealers, museum conservators or the artists' themselves. This happens because while the image's objective is to remain eternally the same, its support is constantly changing, telling its story, showing its scars, its labels and periodic clichés. So when a cousin of mine told me his 7-year old could paint a Picasso, I told him 'probably, but he couldn't do the back'. As a teenager, I used to fix the neighbor's TV as a hobby. I wanted to learn how to fix clocks too. Whenever something's function is basically visual, there is always an opening in the back for the curious to do it damage."
This work will be on view at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. from September 6 - October 11 for anyone in the New York area who's interested in seeing the show.
Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
530 West 22nd Street
New York, NY
September 6 – October 11, 2008
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 6, 6-8 pm
From Top To Bottom:
Verso (Starry Night), 2008
Verso (The New President), 2008
Verso (Nighthawks), 2008
Verso (The Winner in Broad Jump, Jesse Owens), 2008
All Images © Vik Muniz