Medusa, after Caravaggio (Pictures of Junk)
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First off, there are three kitchen sinks in Medusa, after Caravaggio.

Beyond being a missing page from an “I Spy” book, Vik Muniz’ Medusa After Caravaggio is easily the greatest piece of recycling in all of history. And it should be, as the piece was meant to honor the catadores of Brazil. In addition to having an incredibly sexy professional title, these informal sanitation workers are the major reason Brazil, which has few municipal recycling programs, is still able to reclaim a large portion of its recyclable materials. These catadores often take their findings and resell them, sometimes repurposing them as art. In his photograph Muniz honors this on multiple levels. The first and most obvious way is that the piece is made of literal trash, however the homage to recycling goes deeper. For this Medusa image itself has been reused from another piece of his, commonly dubbed the Marinara Medusa. This piece too then is a redone version of another piece, Medusa by Caravaggio, which itself is a rendition of the famous greek myth.

The manifestation of the piece is no less dramatic. Its inspiration comes from the mosaiques in the Churches of Ravenna, and it was created with the intended purpose of having “color pictures that talk about color and also talked about the practical simplification of impossible objects.” Wow. The Medusa, After Caravaggio was created along with a slew of other photos for a collection dubbed “Pictures of Junk,” the project taking collectively two years to complete. A possible reason for this being the precise method it was brought into existence. As outlines and drafts could not capture the entirety of his vision, Muniz created The Medusa, After Caravaggio by directing a small army of art students around with a laser pointer. All the while standing on a high scaffolding and shouting down orders like some deranged trash god. It may be a bit much, but it is good for the planet, and it is my belief that the humble catadores of Brazil deserve nothing less.

Also he was able to sneak one whole truck of chairs into this photo, just in case you missed it.




  1. Kino,Carlo “Where Art Meets Trash and Transforms Life” The New York Times 10/12/10
  2. Hepner, Guy “PICTURES OF JUNK BY VIK MUNIZ” Guy Hepner 2019
  3. “Pictures of Junk – Sikkema Jenkins & Co” Vik Muniz 2019