Marilyn Minter, Coral Ridge Towers (Mom Dyeing Eyebrows), 1969 Black-and-white-photograph 76 x 101 cm © Marilyn Minter. Courtesy Salon 94, New York
Marilyn Minter, Coral Ridge Towers (Mom Smoking), 1969 Black-and-white-photograph 76 x 101 cm © Marilyn Minter. Courtesy Salon 94, New York.
Marilyn Minter, © Bryan Bedder / The DAILY.
Marilyn Minter, Pink Bra (Pamela Anderson), 2007 C-Print 218 x 152 cm © Marilyn Minter. Courtesy Salon 94, New York. © Marilyn Minter. Courtesy Salon 94, New York.
April 30-June 12, 2011
For the first time, the oeuvre of US artist Marilyn Minter (born 1948) is the subject of an extensive exhibition in Germany. Her works oscillate between painting and photography, often focusing on the themes of eroticism and femininity. The hyperrealist close-ups of seemingly glamorous images, (including lips, eyes and toes dripping in make-up) examine the increasing divide between the fictitious image of the body conveyed by the media and advertising and the real body itself. In a wide-ranging series made in 2007 it is Pamela Anderson who is the model. Excerpts from Minter’s Green Pink Cavier were chosen in 2009 by Madonna as the stage backdrop for her Sticky & Sweet world tour.
Minter moved to New York City in 1976, after earning a master of fine arts degree at Syracuse University. She became involved in the nightclub scene in Manhattan of the late 1970s and early 1980s. She played volleyball in lower Manhattan. She also taught in a Catholic boys' school. In 1985 she began working in art again.
While a student in Florida, Minter created a now-praised series of photographic studies that involved her drug-addicted mother. Through the 1980s, she explored Pop-derived pictures often incorporating sexuality, setting the tone for many of her works.
In 1989 Minter created a series of works based on images from hardcore pornography. She received much criticism for this from feminists who saw it as an expression of the victimization and objectification of women, rather than a statement on the absurdity of such images.
In 1990, her notoriety intensified when her television ad 100 Food Porn, shot and directed by NY documentary filmmaker Ted Haimes, was released. Through the 1990s she refined her works, which despite still having pornographic undertones, exuded a sense of glamour and high-fashion.
In Marilyn Minter’s work, pride of place goes to the complex relationship between body, photography and painting. Here, Minter exposes all our cultural inhibitions in dealing with sexuality and desire, the hyperrealist shots of high-gloss surfaces and sections of the body are both seductive and irritating at once. In the fragmented representation of lips, eyes, mouths and necks, decadence confronts beauty and the pitfalls of glamour collide with the fascination it exerts. Minter’s voyeuristic hallucinations seem both tempting and dangerous. Beauty here proves to be a brittle construct in which sensuality and self- destruction are two sides of the same coin; flesh, yearning, sexuality and gender models are revealed to be commercial products. Moreover, Minter’s playful use of the clichés of the staged body is an experiment that affords unusual angles on the abstract beauty cult of advertising and fashion.
Born in 1948 in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA, Marilyn Minter studied at the University of Florida and at Syracuse University. Her works have been displayed in countless exhibitions, including shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Paris, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Works by Marilyn Minter are, among other things, represented in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, Deutsche Bank (New York), Kunsthaus Museum (Zurich), and the Museum of Modern Art (New York). She has held the Guggenheim Fellowship New York, a stipend from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant.
Marilyn Minter, Chewing Pink, 2008 C-Print © Marilyn Minter. Courtesy Salon 94, New York. © Marilyn Minter. Courtesy Salon 94, New York.
Marilyn Minter, Stepping Up, 2005 Enamel on metal 96 x 60 inch © Marilyn Minter. Courtesy Salon 94, New York. © Marilyn Minter. Courtesy Salon 94, New York.