Kids see how one artist creates with unorthodox media.
Narrating in first person, acclaimed artist Muniz, a white Brazilian-American, showcases his techniques, unconventional materials, and finished work. Some is original imagery: a cotton sculpture resembling a cloud. Much is fascinating homage: an eye-popping re-creation, in chocolate syrup, of Hans Namuth’s photograph of Jackson Pollock at work; a tender re-creation, in confetti, of Paul Cézanne’s Still Life with Apples; a spiky re-creation, in toy soldiers, of a photo of a 14-year-old Civil War soldier. Liftable flaps playfully reveal the classic artwork he’s re-creating or Muniz’s own piece in a second scale. The original art Muniz re-creates often gets short shrift visually. Instead, bromidic assertions and a surfeit of autobiography congest the pages in large speech bubbles. Humility is in short supply. Muniz’s Double Mona Lisa, one peanut butter, one jelly, is truly fabulous, but, shadily, only the footnote and backmatter—not the primary text—credit Andy Warhol with having done a Double Mona Lisa first. The text portrays Muniz as a slight savior figure to black and brown people; he sounds content to use their lives for career fodder, as when he renders portraits of black Saint Kitts children in sugar to contrast them with their “very bitter” parents who work on sugarcane plantations.
Visually busy and humming with ego, but Muniz’s art is splendid. (timeline, resources, glossary, list of illustrations, index) (Nonfiction. 6-13)