new-york

Vik Muniz, Buttons (L), Handmade, 2016–, mixed media, 73 3/8 × 49 1/2". From the series “Handmade,” 2016–.

Vik Muniz

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Vik Muniz, Buttons (L), Handmade, 2016–, mixed media, 73 3/8 × 49 1/2". From the series “Handmade,” 2016–.

It’s no great challenge to name recent exhibitions in New York that have drawn their power from expert illusionism. One featuring Vija Celmins’s obsessive conjurings of the night sky and ocean surface, for example, coincided with another presenting Matt Johnson’s painted carved-wood simulacra of packaging materials and studio detritus. Our appetite for near-exact copies of extant objects and images—from the sublime to the banal—appears as powerful as ever. Vik Muniz is an artist for whom precise representation has long been important as both strategy and theme, specifically as a way to interrogate the relationship of the photographic image to its referent. This exhibition, which marked the first American appearance of his series “Handmade,” 2016–, saw Muniz jettison his also-familiar usage of unexpected materials to focus more tightly than ever on this idea. He also

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