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I Brought No Italian With Me to Rome

Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz

I brought no Italian with me to Rome. At the Brazilian Embassy, I tell the guard that I am to there to see visiting artist Vik Muniz. He speaks no English.

My best mime only warrants a raised eyebrow.

In desperation, I plead, “Parlez francais?” though I do not. A call is placed and I gather that I have been mistaken for a french journalist of great repute. “French” because everyone now speaks to me in french, though my only reply is my customary Gallic shrug. “Journalist of repute” because I was granted the sole private interview with the artist so they assume I must be somebody.

The red carpet is rolled out as a diplomat whisks me upstairs to Vik. Introductions are made, in french, to Vik as he looks at me, baffled, then points and exclaims. “It’s you!” We embrace as I explain how I have been chasing him, that I want to film an interview him for my project on artist’s careers, and how I connived to arrange this meeting. He looks at me as if I am insane. They give us an ornate room to talk in private. Vik helps me set up and, as I struggle with my equipment, he patiently teaches me how to use my tripod. Oh God, I repeat to myself nervously. The Ambassador drops in to say hello. Oh God. A white-gloved man in uniform silently serves us espresso. I am shaking with caffeinated nerves.

But he was the same Vik Muniz he has always been, generous, brilliant, hilarious, insightful, and gorgeous. And in the end, I got an amazing interview.


Crista Cloutier’s interview with Vik Muniz will appear with other artist interviews in a forthcoming compilation. We’ll keep you posted.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • David Alm December 5, 2011, 9:30 am

    What a great little teaser. Can’t wait to read the interview.

  • Crista Cloutier December 8, 2011, 12:17 pm

    Thank you David! The interview was filmed so I hope to post it online someday somewhere. At the moment though, my project is still in the hunt and gather phase I am chasing artists and interviewing them with the intent of eventually creating a short film.