The Artist MVT Discusses The Kafka-Landscaping Paintings

The artist MVT’s new exhibit, “Franz Kafka Landscapes His Yard During a Pandemic” has stirred up controversy across the board.  The series of four massive canvasses has cemented her reputation as a boundary pushing artist, devoted social activist and master extortionist.  On the other hand, the public exhibit has resulted in economic hardship, destruction of property and the use of semicolons for immoral purposes.

On the surface, MTV intended her abstract paintings to raise awareness about COVID-19 precautions.  However, her real motivation was to have her lawn re-sodded for free.

During an interview in her Chicago studio, the enigmatic Kenya born artist explained the motivation and technique in creating the paintings. 

“I was reading Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’ and began pondering the themes of transformation, isolation and why bug spray doesn’t work on giant cockroaches.  The concepts inspired me to begin painting.  While I was painting, I realized no one had visited me for months.”

“At first, I blamed social distancing and the Pandemic. And, with COVID-19 cases rising, I took the opportunity to capitalize on the Pandemic and raise awareness about taking precautions.  Yeah.  That’s it.  Raise awareness.”   

“However, since I get most of my news from Facebook ads, I quickly dismissed the Pandemic idea.  I figured, the only real reason no one had visited me is because my lawn was in such dreadful shape.”

Field of switchgrass.
MVT’s lawn before the project began.

“So, I decided to re-sod the lawn.  Transform it and detach from the isolation.  But, you know, I abhor DIY projects and certainly didn’t want to pay for landscaping.  So, I decided to let the art do it for me.”

She revealed that her artistic vision would limit itself in color, technique and talent. 

“I reduced the color scheme to black, brown and orange.  These three colors represent strong and conflicting emotions-fear, security, fear of security.  And, to create the ultimate effect, I only used one brush, a single palette knife and an individual turkey baster.  I really wanted to maximize minimalism and raise mediocrity to new heights.”

The first painting in the series, Franz Kafka Decides to Re-Sod His Lawn by Himself (87 x 118 in , 221 x 299.7 cm), launched the controversy.

Black, brown and orange splatters on a canvas.
Franz Kafka Decides to Re-Sod His Lawn by Himself

MVT explained how she executed her plan to raise COVID-19 awareness and obtain a new lawn gratis.  “I secretly placed the painting in the window of Don’t Be Sodden landscaping while the staff was admiring some scrap paper.  I didn’t know it, but the painting led to a 1000% percent loss of business in two days.”

Critical acknowledgement to the exhibit was just as harsh as the public reception.

The critic Victoria Vivre of Art and Haberdashery magazine described the art as, “An arrogant promotion of the MVT brand…an I’m-doing-this-because-I-can perversion.  A disgrace to landscaping and art.”

Due to the critical backlash and legal ramifications, MVT agreed to remove the painting.  However, she insisted on two conditions.  First, that the landscaping company enforce social distancing.  Second, that Don’t Be Sodden remove the switchgrass that was infesting her yard.

The second painting,  Kafka Sees the Absurdity in the Project and Hires Super Sod Landscaping (105 x 207 in, 266.7 x 525 cm), intensified the scandal.

Brown and black grid on an orange background.
Kafka Sees the Absurdity in the Project and Hires Super Sod Landscaping

As MTV explains it, “I walked into Turf Wars Landscaping.  At the time, management was in a heated debate about the correct pronunciation of the word ‘Tiddlywinks.’ I simply hung the canvas above some pallets of Arctic bluegrass.  They never saw me.”

Again, the art had unintended consequences.  As a result of the painting, the local chapter of Artists Supporting Lab Technicians covered the Turf Wars building with guacamole. 

The critical reaction again was similar.  The art commentator Messy Face of the popular blog Contemporary Stapling took issue with the painting, saying, “There is no doubt MVT’s work adds up to the most monumental ego trip in the history of art and lawn maintenance.”

After intense negotiations, MVT consented to remove the contentious artwork.  Again, she had two stipulations.  To start, Turf Wars must enforce mask wearing.  And, to finish, Turf Wars must till her yard. 

The third painting in the series, The Landscapers Lay Scarab Beetle Infested Sod and the Lawn Dies Like a Dog (8’10” x 17’5”, 270 x 531 cm) brought the dissent to a climax.

Geometric patterns of black, orange and brown.
The Landscapers Lay Scarab Beetle Infested Sod and the Lawn Dies Like a Dog

MVT described how she was able to hang the canvas. “I asked the manager at Sodding the Motherland if they sold oatmeal.  While he was in the warehouse,  I hung the painting above some decorative crabgrass.”

By now, the Chicago Council on the Arts and Hot Dog Toppings had caught wind of MVT’s exhibit.  Consequently, the Arts Council dug a trench in front of Sodding the Motherland’s entrance and filled the trench with molten lava.

Once more, the critical feedback was harsh.  The art reviewer Chachaswag of Multimedia, Suckers! magazine described the painting as, “An image so passé I want to swallow toothpaste.”

In response, MVT agreed to take down the painting with two provisions.  First, Sodding the Motherland would take each person’s temperature upon entry to the building.  And second, Sodding the Motherland would lay fifteen pallets of creeping bentgrass on her front lawn.

The final painting in the series is Kafka Sues the Landscapers but the Judge Denies Kafka Entry into the Courthouse (53 x 89.5 in, 135 x 227 cm).

Black, brown and orange drip painting.
Kafka Sues the Landscapers but the Judge Denies Kafka Entry into the Courthouse

However, due to personal friction and artistic differences, the public never saw the finished artwork.

“I had ‘collaborated’ with my friend and fellow artist Naomi Nouveau on the artwork.  Really, all she did was sort my loose change.  So, I didn’t give Naomi credit on the painting.”

By now, Nouveau had learned of MVT’s true motives behind the series.  To make her own artistic statement, Nouveau superglued the painting to MVT’s tool shed. 

“So, I reached an agreement with Naomi.  She agreed to unglue the artwork on two conditions.  First, I have to wash my hands for at least twenty seconds and use hand sanitizer.  And, I can never borrow Naomi’s lawn mower again.”

Rating: 1 out of 5.

2 thoughts on “The Artist MVT Discusses The Kafka-Landscaping Paintings

  1. The sole artist (and garden) lead a difficult life.

    Liked by 1 person

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