Venus 2 – Review and Interpretation of Masakatu Iwamoto’s Anime Exhibit

At the Tampa Museum of Art’s Anime exhibit, Venus 2 was a collection of anime-style girls drawn on random bits of paper by an artist who simply calls himself “Mr.” (his full name is Masakatu Iwamoto). I found this exhibit disturbing and even offensive on an intellectual level. From some of the literature I read at the museum I found that the author of these drawings has been criticized has having a Lolita complex, and I fully agree. However, I think he is also delusional in his obsession and is hoping to mask it by drawing the images on scraps of paper.

Some people may think there is nothing sensationalistic about these drawings. Often in “japanimation” women are drawn as scantily clad young, buxom females. The females in the exhibit were not merely scantily clad; many of them were completely nude. Flaunting their prepubescent figures proudly, they stare at the viewer with almost innocent daring. Drawn in various positions and different degrees of nudity, the girls bodies are almost boy-like. No bounding breasts or curvy hips, just young females.

The fact that the artist draws these images on random bits of paper makes it seem as if he doesn’t take his art seriously. If he really were serious about his art, wouldn’t he draw on some type of expensive canvas? Why not at least draw on something that can be preserved? These are the conclusions the artist wants you to come to. I think he hopes that by drawing on these random bits of paper that perhaps the world won’t see his desire for young girls as anything serious. His meager attempt has failed, at least with this viewer. I find it offensive that he thinks people are blind enough to view his pornographic doodles as works of art. I normally don’t have any problems with nudity in art; however, this particular exhibit was not art in the least.

Another disturbing part of this exhibit were the random body parts drawn on some of these receipts: a leg here, a floating head there, with nothing else surrounding them. These disjointed, objectified images were oddly placed amid the rest of the pieces. There didn’t seem to be any purpose or order to them or any reason to even have them. With no backgrounds or other doodles they seem like unfinished pieces. The entire piece simply left me feeling oddly uncomfortable.

Generally nudity in art does not bother me. I own many pieces of art that others may find offensive due to the sexual content. It was the theme of the nudity that was disturbing. The fact that these images were of young girls proudly exposing their little bodies disturbed me. The artist has an obvious interest in young girls and while he seems to want to mask it, he is somehow driven to show his works to the world

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