Live Now on Artnet Auctions: A Vik Muniz Photograph Inspired by One Of Jasper Johns’s Most Iconic Images

Muniz's recreation of "Three Flags" is a commentary on the overstimulation of modern life.

Vik Muniz, Three Flags, after Jasper Johns (from Pictures of Magazines 2), 2014. Available now in Important Photographs on Artnet Auctions. Est $80,000—120,000.

Vik Muniz is known for reimagining art-historical imagery in a medium that specifically makes commentary on the masterwork. The Brazilian artist has used chocolate, jelly, tomato sauce, diamonds, toys, trash, and magazine clippings to put his own spin on works by Leonardo da Vinci, Delacroix, and Degas, among various others.

Three Flags, after Jasper Johns (from Pictures of Magazines 2) (2014), which is live now in Artnet Auctions’ Important Photographs sale, presents Muniz’s take on one of Johns’s most recognizable works.

In the same way that the buildup of pigment in Johns’s encaustic painting Three Flags (1958) draws the viewer in for further inspection, Muniz’s use of familiar logos and fashion imagery, torn from the pages of magazines, demands a closer look. And just as Johns, a Pop artist, famously used highly recognizable imagery to make us reexamine it, Muniz likewise uses identifiable images as a fitting medium for his reinterpretation.

Three details of Three Flags, after Jasper Johns (from Pictures of Magazines 2), 2014

Three Flags, after Jasper Johns (from Pictures of Magazines 2) holds particular significance in the wake of “Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror,” a major retrospective of Johns’s work at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

While Johns’s Three Flags is often interpreted as a critique of extreme patriotism, Muniz’s flags may allude to the amalgamation of cultures that is America, or comment on the overstimulation we face as a society. The meaning and symbolism of Muniz’s interpretation evolves with each viewing.

In 2021, two examples of Three Flags, after Jasper Johns (from Pictures of Magazines 2) realized prices of $163,800. Artnet’s estimate of $80,000 to $120,000, therefore, presents an exceptional collecting opportunity for an in-demand artwork.

Muniz has also exhibited his photographic masterworks at many prestigious museums, including the Whitney, MoMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, and the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro.

Important Photographs is live through March 24—don’t miss your chance to bid, and please don’t hesitate to contact the specialist for this work, Susanna Wenniger, Head of Photographs, with any questions at [email protected].

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