Vik Muniz

Picture of Dust (Tony Smith, Die, 1962, installed at the Whitney Museum in "From the Collection: Photography, Sculpture, and Painting," July 14, 1994-February 26, 1995)

Not on view



Chromogenic print

Overall: 70 3/4 × 88 1/8in. (179.7 × 223.8 cm) Frame: 74 1/2 × 92 1/16in. (189.2 × 233.8 cm)

Accession number

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Brent Sikkema, New York, and the artist

Rights and reproductions
© Vik Muniz / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Vik Muniz began his career as a sculptor, but he soon became more interested in photographic reproductions of sculptures than in the objects themselves. In his work, Muniz began translating recognizable images created by other artists into new, often unusual materials, which he then photographed. In Pictures of Dust, a series of photographs created expressly for the Whitney, Muniz worked with installation photographs of Minimalist and Postminimalist art exhibited at the Museum over the preceding four decades. Using dust gathered from the Museum’s galleries and offices, he made drawings based on the installation photographs, which he then photographed and enlarged. “I became interested in Minimalist art,” Muniz explained, “because it attempts to avoid interpretation and historical contextualization. Minimalist art refers to nothing but itself.” Muniz selected dust as his drawing material for its ephemeral nature and its irregular form, characteristics which contrast sharply with the solid masses and geometric rigor of Minimalism. Whereas Minimalist art attempts to defy time, place, and style, dust is a residue that suggests decay and the passage of time. “In Pictures of Dust,” Muniz explains, “Minimalist art is orderly, dust is chaos.”