This article continues the debate over Vik Muniz’s reappropriation of Jacques-Louis David’s portrait of Marat (1793) in his 2008 series, “Pictures of Garbage” which was featured in the hit documentary by Lucy Walker, Waste Land (2010).
In my March 11, 2012 posting, I wrote: “By now, Santos has likely learned that Marat was more than just ‘an intellectual’ (the only adjective used by Muniz to describe him in the film). I wonder if he still appreciates the connection? And I wonder if Muniz regrets yoking his friend to this villain of international disrepute?”
On March 22, 2012, I had the good fortune to receive an email reply from Mr. dos Santos in response to this question, via his agent Diana Gabanyi. I hereby admit I was wrong. Santos does not regret being featured as Marat, in fact he relishes the connection!
An article forthcoming in Martial Poirson’s book on the French Revolution in global popular culture today will lay out all the details. (“Les martyres de Marat et de Sebastião: Une légende révolutionnaire mise à jour.”) Until then, I have only one thing to say: Marat est mort, vive Marat!