Muniz began his career as a sculptor in the late 1980s after relocating from Brazil to Chicago and later to New York. His early work grew out of a post-Fluxus aesthetic and often involved visual puns and jokes. His most famous work from this period is “Clown Skull”, a human skull augmented w/ a clown-nose shaped protuberance.
Muniz’s work begins to take on its mature form with The Best of Life (1990) where he drew pictures of photographs included in the coffee table book “The Best of Life” from memory after losing the book in a move. The drawings were subsequently photographed and shown as photographs, a practice that Muniz continues.
Muniz followed “The Best of Life” with Equivalents (1993), Pictures of Wire (1994), and Pictures of Thread (1995) in which he developed the other aspect of his characteristic style by making the drawings out of readily recognizable non-art materials (i.e. cotton, wire, or thread). This process of making a drawing out of a nontraditional material and then photographing it has been central to Muniz’s work ever since. In 1996 he made “Sugar Children” for which he received critical acclaim. The New York Times reviewed the show and Muniz was invited to participate in the 1997-1998 New Photography exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Here are some samples of his work