NEW YORK, NY— The Soho-based gallery MVMNT shocked the art world today with their new exhibition of the work of Maisy Sims. The exhibition centers around the piece, Queer Life (2021), a paneled tryptic still life. The piece now finds itself in the middle of a controversy; it doesn’t have a single boob, butt, or any balls on it.
The painting shows a view inside Sim’s bathroom vanity, which includes a smattering of everyday objects and a mirror, but many say it should have revealed at least one butt in it to cement it in the genre of queer art. While a tube of lipstick might look phallic, there is not a single dick drawn or collaged onto this painting.
The longtime critic at large for Art Today Magazine, Zed Wilson, said of the work in his weekly round-up column, “while the name suggests, the piece is about Sims’ own queer identity, how are we supposed to glean that if there aren’t some nude body parts on it? I need to see tits at least.” He continued, “there isn’t even one ripped-up face with an open mouth collaged onto anything in the exhibit. Personally, I am not sure I can even call it queer art… maybe it’s just art?”
The gallery, which is not known for the avant-garde, released a statement, “as longtime collaborators of Sims, we value her art even if this particular piece is like nothing we have seen before. While it is no excuse, we first thought the orchid in the empty Jaritos bottle was supposed to be a vagina.”
Sims has declined to comment on the piece but posted to her Twitter to say, “queer art is art by a queer person, so yes, I make queer art.” She received zero retweets for the post and only 5 likes. For contrast, the tweet directly before, which featured Sims’ exposed ass, garnered 100k retweets.
Queer Life isn’t the only piece in the exhibition. Sims has also chosen to display a painted portrait of her family each with the head of a different bird, but that does not feature a single vagina. Another piece, Jessica Four Years ago, is a piece about her long-time partnership with Queer novelist, Jessica Menendez. Some have said that an upside-down beige heart in the piece might represent balls, but others don’t see it. A single sculpture of an egg, however, has been confirmed not to be a butt plug.
While many have made their stances on the piece known, others support Sims’ new and bold choice. Margettee Lewis, a fellow queer artist, wrote on her blog, “Sims’ has done something unheard of in the art community of today. She is pushing the narrative of queer art. That’s admirable. I think I might stop collaging pictures of my vagina onto all my paintings of Victorian houses…. however they will still be in period blood.”