Art Review: “Masking the Unmasked”

The artist MVT

The multimedia artist MVT wants you to wear a mask.

In her new exhibit, “Masking the Unmasked,” the Kenyan born virtuoso expresses the events of a single day in glass, metal, wood and jello.

“It began while I was in the park walking my lobster.  I passed a couple as they were sitting on separate benches having some white wine.  Naturally, they weren’t wearing masks but they were social distancing. A woman confronted them about not wearing masks and drinking wine in the park where there is a strict no white zinfandel policy.”

“They exchanged words, the man explaining white zinfandel is really a rosé and they were drinking Chardonnay.  The woman walked away and returned a few minutes later.  Without saying anything she pulled out a can of aerosol cheese and started spraying.  She used the whole can, covered both of them.  And what’s worse, she didn’t offer them any Triscuits.  At that point, I felt like I had to say something.”

Both inspired and revolted by what happened, MVT sculpted Cheeze Assault.

An examination of the retro contemporary paleo-neoclassic style, Cheeze Assault utilizes simplicity while disregarding self-restraint. 

MVT has always chosen to exhibit her work in unconventional locations.  “I find the traditional galleries elitist, sterile and pretentious,” she says.  “They suck the life out of the work, like viewing a stranger’s body in a morgue.  And most galleries charge extra for guacamole.”  To highlight the praise on her unorthodox displays, critics raved about MVT’s previous exhibit “Dumpster Snorkeling.”

Vince Treacle from “Art and File Cabinets” magazine called it “an accelerated deterioration of the modern painting.  A liberating and cathartic deterioration informed by deeply personal tempo.”  Seamus Clafouti from “Acrylic Hoagie” declared, “The reds are oppressive and the blues suggest empty chambers and endless halls.  Great for the kids!”

“It wasn’t an exhibit,” MVT explained.  “I was cleaning out my basement and these critics followed me around and took pictures.  It was kind of creepy, like they were invading my privacy.  A notarized, certified request to my manager’s agent’s lawyer would have been fine.”  

The fact that MVT only uses her initials and blurs or hides her face has little to do with privacy.

Her desire to remain anonymous comes from a dispute with her estranged mother.  MVT’s mother Elena disapproved of her career as an artist, believing that art was an undignified vocation.  Rather, Elena wanted MVT to stay in the family loan sharking empire.

However, MVT’s status as a child prodigy quashed the career path Elena chose for MVT.  

MVT was born in Nairobi in 1996.  She displayed an early flair for art and commerce after her father Sven gave her a staple gun for her 3rd birthday.  Promptly inspired, she stapled her mother’s favorite turtleneck sweater and Capri pants to the dining room table.  She then charged the family ten dollars a head to remove them before dinner. 

Recognizing MVT’s talent, Sven told MVT he would send her to study in Paris.  However, to save money, he sent her to Paris, Ontario.  MVT fondly recalls Parisian life.  “I thought Penman’s Dam was the Arc de Triomphe.  It was also weird that nobody was speaking French.”

After high school, MVT enrolled at the prestigious Marcel Duchamp School for Visual Indifference.  “The Duchamp experience taught me a lot about not caring if it’s ‘art’ or not,” she explains.  “Then I rebelled against that school of thought and became passionately unconcerned.  I think with this new exhibit I’ve found a balance between the two.” 

“Masking the Unmasked” continues MVT’s devotion to social commentary and instigating change.  She first gained notoriety for speaking out about food delivery price gouging in “Uber Eats Is an Anagram for Rube Seat.”

The second piece in “Masking the Unmasked”, Cookware Conflict, raises questions about civility, nationalism and Hello Kitty.

“Cookware Conflict is more about what the mask represents,” she explains.  “I went to Family Dollar to see if they had a portable cross walk.  This couple walks in wearing Hello Kitty masks.  Immediately another older couple gets in their faces, pointing fingers, making obscene gestures and shouting.”

“The man starts screaming, ‘My grandfather worked for Hasbro for 40 years!  And you come in here wearing that foreign mask! You might as well just take money out of my pocket!  How dare you!  How dare you wear that mask in public!’  Then he starts taunting and mocking them with the Hello Kitty slogan, ‘Little gift, big smile! Little gift, big smile!’ The whole time he’s waving a Spanish mackerel in their faces.” 

“Then this guy, completely out of his mind, blocks the aisle and won’t let them leave.  He makes them read the fine print on his homeowner’s insurance policy and won’t let them go until they can recite it word for word.  Including punctuation.” 

“My goal for Cookware Conflict was to create a Hellenistic sculpture representing the exaggerated expression of the Hasbro man in Family Dollar.  I think I got the results I wanted after I bought some jello from a cashier named Helen.” 

The final piece in “Masking the Unmasked” is Flat Screen TV Disguised as Gravy Boat.

MVT says the most sickening incident of mask confrontations happened at Best Buy.  “I wanted a new noodle fan and Best Buy had them on sale.  A woman comes in the store without a mask and carrying something heavy in a bag.  An employee asked her to put on a mask.  This woman doesn’t say anything and just runs into the bathroom and locks the door”

“The manager pounds on the door for like, 2 hours.  The whole time the lady is screaming ‘I’ll be out in a minute!’   It turns out she had defrosted a turkey in the bathroom.  Then she used the giblets to smear ‘Masks are Skams’ on the bathroom wall.” 

She was able to get out of the store but police located her at her residence.  They arrested her for transporting raw poultry across state lines for immoral purposes.”

MVT took a simple, classic approach to Flat Screen.  The sleek metal piece perfectly represents early mid pre postmodern cubism in that the sculpture has no cubes.

silver trays connected by metal rods.

As for what she’ll do after “Masking the Unmasked” comes down or gets thrown in the dumpster, MVT is still seeking out possibilities.  She showed me a prototype of a sculpture in progress. 

“I’m attempting to explore human nature down to its essence, its core,” she says.  The working title is ‘DNA: Do We Need It?’ I hope I’ll make it happen.”

Rating: 1 out of 5.

5 thoughts on “Art Review: “Masking the Unmasked”

  1. This was a wondeful read. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Glad you liked it! Thanks for reading!😃

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Entertaining.
    We should wear masks while in public to protect others.

    Liked by 1 person

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