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Best Freaky Reappropriation-Minded Art Piece New York 2013 - "Elvis" Mask


"Elvis" Mask

200 Eastern Parkway

Brooklyn, NY 11238


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Turn left a couple times after entering the Brooklyn Museum, and you'll see it: a weird, flesh-colored mask of Elvis Presley, the hair a wool-thick black, the eyes painted over with raccoon-like circles, and the sideburns jutting long and straight so far across the face that they almost meet the king's lips. The piece—the "Elvis" Mask, created by the Nyau society, a part of the Chewa culture of central and southern Africa—is rough, but the likeness is as unmistakable as the look is creepy. And it's not a tribute: Some masks crafted by the Nyau are meant to illustrate everything undesirable about outside culture. But Elvis is Elvis, a man who looks impressive even when crafted to look terrible.

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