by Laura Hutson
Brazil’s Jardim Gramacho is one of the largest garbage dumps in the world, and a pretty unusual setting for a documentary about art. But Lucy Walker’s 2010 documentary Waste Land is an unusual film, and Vik Muniz, the doc’s subject, is an unusual artist. Muniz creates masterpieces out of garbage, and Garbage Matters is the aptly titled exhibition of his photographs opening today at The Frist.
The photos document the final product of Muniz’s process — trash that’s arranged into re-creations of iconic works like Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and David’s “Death of Marat” and then photographed from above — but these images are just the final stage of the Muniz’s vision. Just outside the frames are his helpers — members of a class of Brazilians so underprivileged that their livings are made by picking through the landfill to find recyclables. Pay close attention to this exhibit, and watch Waste Land for a primer on Muniz.
The trailer for Waste Land is below.