I get a big kick out of Marilyn Minter’s work, which I was mostly introduced to by Nadine McCarthy, the daring and creative Picture Editor of ALLURE. I say mostly because while I was vaguely aware of it before, it hadn’t snapped into focus until she commissioned Minter to do a beauty story for the magazine, and then we put one of Minter’s pieces in a benefit auction we both worked on. As often happens, I then saw how behind the curve I was!
Minter could perhaps best be described as a post-pop artist. Both a photographer and a painter, Minter goes back and forth between the two mediums with each informing and enriching the other. The work she’s making today, however, comes out of a long and winding career. Starting off as a photographer in the 1970s, Minter switched to painting in the 80s and 90s with a series of much noticed but also much criticized works referencing hard core pornography. Out of these images came the thought that the real glamour and the real porn was the glitter of luxury consumer culture.
Using both photography and painting Minter’s new millennial work consisted of hyperrealistic close-ups of makeup-laden lips, eyes, and toes, whose luscious colors and glossy surfaces were appealing and disturbing at the same time. Minter’s exaggerated images copied and subverted the visual seductiveness of advertising while providing a visceral pleasure-laden punch.
A 2005 solo show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and a star turn in the 2006 Whitney Biennial quickly put Minter on the contemporary art map. And the rest, as they say, is history.
And as an added bonus, a clip from Minter's newest video project - "Green Pink Caviar". As Minter explains,"I was shooting stills of models with long tongues swirling and sucking bakery products from under a pane of glass. I wanted to make enamel paintings along the idea of 'painting with my tongue'. My makeup artist shot some short videos during the shoot just to see how it would look. The low definition videos looked so good that we made a professional high definition video."
(If you want to buy the full 8 minute video from Minter's gallery, Salon 94, click here.) It's a bargain at $35 and an impressive way to start your video art collection!