Artnet Auctions Presents: How This Striking Photo by Vik Muniz Pays Homage to the Great Ed Ruscha

Read on to learn why this work presents a unique collecting opportunity.

Vik Muniz, Standard Station (Night) after Ed Ruscha (from Pictures of Cars) (2008). Chromogenic print (c-print), mounted to aluminum. 44 x 75.5 x 1.5 in., edition of 6. Estimated at $30,000–40,000 in Important Photographs on Artnet Auctions.
Vik Muniz, Standard Station (Night) after Ed Ruscha (from Pictures of Cars) (2008). Chromogenic print (c-print), mounted to aluminum. 44 x 75.5 x 1.5 in., edition of 6. Estimated at $30,000–40,000 in Important Photographs on Artnet Auctions.

If you’re familiar with contemporary American art, an image of a Standard Oil station may immediately bring to mind Ed Ruscha.

But the image above is actually by artist Vik Muniz, and cleverly pays homage to Ruscha, and gives new life to the American master and American car culture at large.

Live now through October 22 in our Important Photographs sale on Artnet Auctions, Muniz’s Standard Station (Night) after Ed Ruscha (from the “Pictures of Cars” series) (2008) continues the artist’s exploration of seeing and representation.

Muniz often uses ephemeral materials, such as cotton, sugar, garbage, and chocolate syrup, to recreate famous images from art history, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet, and Andy Warhol. After photographing his intricate constructions, the artist discards them, leaving his photograph as the only record of their creation.

Muniz’s Pictures of Cars series is faithful to its title: the artist literally used automobile parts to create the reproductions, including the materials used in Standard Station (Night) after Ed Ruscha.

The full series includes recreations of two other works by Ruscha, and represents a shift away from Muniz’s typical use of ephemeral and perishable materials. By incorporating pieces of cars into the images, Muniz references Los Angeles’s storied car-culture history, as well as Ruscha’s own interest in the architecture and landscape of the American West.

The spotlights emanating from the back of the Standard Oil station also subtly nods to Hollywood history, another noted subject of Ruscha’s.

Muniz’s work at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Image courtesy of the Petersen Museum.

In recent years, works by Muniz have achieved prices close to $300,000 at auction. This is an especially notable feat for an artist primarily known for his photography, a market that tends to see slightly lower prices given the nature of the work.

Muniz remains an extremely collectible artist, especially in the wake of the critically acclaimed documentary, Waste Land, which chronicled his creative process.

His works are also in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Instituto Itau Cultural, São Paulo; the National Museum of Art, Osaka; and the Gana Art Center, Seoul, among others.

Estimated at $30,000–40,000, Standard Station (Night) after Ed Ruscha represents an excellent opportunity to acquire a work from a small edition by a contemporary master.

Click here to see the lot page on Artnet Auctions, and place your bids before Important Photographs ends on October 22.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to the specialist for this lot, Susanna Wenniger.

Head of Photographs
[email protected]
+1 (212) 497-9700 ext. 172


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