The stalwart contemporary art dealer Ben Brown Fine Arts is opening a pop-up space in Mayfair, London, which launches next month with a show of works by the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz. The exhibition, Vik Muniz: A Brief History of Art (1 February-11 March), will also be held in Brown’s existing space in nearby Brook’s Mews.
“I am opening a pop-up in Grosvenor Street because business is good, and I need more space. By taking on more space, I believe I can do a better job at presenting the work of my artists to a London public, and make the work look stronger,” Brown says. An exhibition dedicated to the Les Lalanne designer couple will follow the Muniz show in the 130 sq. m pop-up. “The space is guaranteed until the end of May and it is highly likely that we will retain it for our summer show which is a group curated exhibition,” Brown says, adding that he has been "exploring our options in the NFT market but so far have not moved in properly yet".
The Muniz show includes the artist’s reinterpretations of famous works dating from the early Renaissance to today, encompassing celebrated masterpieces by Botticelli, Goya, Van Gogh and Gerhard Richter. The compositions are made from everyday detritus, such as scrap metal, toys, vintage postcards and chocolate (his Double Mona Lisa piece, 1999, is fashioned from peanut butter and jelly).
These works are photographed and “either magnified or shrunken in scale, with the final work of art becoming a documentation of his conceptual and artistic processes”, a statement says. Pieces in the show include Suprematist Composition: Eight Red Rectangles, after Kazimir Malevich (Pictures of Pigment, 2007) and The Night Fire, after Goya (Pictures of Pigment, 2007).
“I believe that Vik Muniz is a master at reinterpreting works by great artists and this is borne out by the current market for his work," Brown adds. "I am presenting to the London public some works which have never been seen [there] and hoping that either a new or old audience will share my admiration for them."
He describes Muniz’s practice as “complex conceptual photography which is definitively innovative and unconventional.” In 2018, Muniz discussed the implications for Brazil’s culture sector after the far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro was elected President.