Vik Muniz - Photographs New York Tuesday, October 1, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Literature

    Capivara,Vik Muniz: Obra Completa1987-2009, p. 519

  • Catalogue Essay

    Since his debut New York show in 1983, Vik Muniz has been photographing renowned images culled from a wide variety of subject matter—from iconic Post-War paintings to glamour shots of legendary actresses, as seen in the current lot. However, Muniz’s photographs are not a direct appropriation of their respective images but rather a record of Muniz’s careful reconstruction of each image. Therefore, for the past three decades Muniz has relied on an array of materials for his photographed compositions, from cotton to wire, thread, sugar, chocolate, dust and many more. As a result, Muniz’s photographs not only present a new context in which his appropriated images are understood but also imbue each one with an additional, physical dimension, turning each of his photographs into a proof of “something that existed in time,” he said. It
    is befitting, therefore, that for his famed series of silver screen sirens, Muniz chose a material that was likewise precious, resplendent and desirable, diamonds. As one of the most celebrated actresses of her time, Bette Davis was among the first leading ladies in Hollywood to define the role of a movie star. Throughout a spectacular career, Davis was the first actress to receive ten Academy Award nominations (of which she won two), was the first woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, and she became the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Famous for her roles as much as her strength, Davis was further canonized in American Pop Culture in Kim Carnes’s Number One hit song “Bette Davis Eyes”, in which the beloved star’s sultry gaze is sung in praise and awe. Similarly, in Muniz’s photograph Davis’s seductive expression as rendered in diamonds, mesmerizes the viewers with her beauty as much as with the thousands of jewels of which she is comprised. The dual awareness of subject and material is particularly suitable for the series. “In theater,” Muniz explained, “you have the character and the actor in the same place trying to negotiate each other in front of an audience.” In the current lot, the audience is delighted to have a full awareness of both.


Bette Davis from Pictures of Diamonds

Chromogenic print, flush-mounted.
32 3/8 x 40 3/8 in. (82.2 x 102.6 cm)
Signed in ink, printed title, date and number 1/10 on a label accompanying the work.

$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for $62,500

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs
+1 212 940 1245


New York 30 September & 1 October 2013