The Glamour and the Grime: Marilyn Minter at the Brooklyn Museum
Marilyn Minter has been exploring an intoxicating relationship between glamour and grime, unapologetically, for the past forty years. The irreverent and outspoken feminist artist is on a current career high with the celebration of her work in two major New York exhibitions. Her first ever retrospective ‘Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty’ which opened in early November at the Brooklyn Museum boasts her sexually frank photo-realistic paintings, photographs, and films. About 40 works are on display dated from 1969 to now, in a traveling exhibit that has previously stopped in Houston, Denver, and Newport Beach, CA.
Focusing on beauty, the female body, and a woman’s sexual agency - Minter now at 68 - has been a warrior for inclusionary feminism and reproductive rights throughout her decades-long career. In the early ‘90s, her ‘Porn Paintings’ series sparked some serious backlash and was deemed ‘anti-women’ by fellow feminists, whereas Minter was simply trying to prove that women too hold the power when it comes to sex. An activist both on and off the canvas, Minter and budding pop icon Miley Cyrus collaborated on a recent series of prints where Cyrus was depicted in Minter’s signature dewey and mesmerizing style. Proceeds from the $5500 prints were donated to Planned Parenthood in New York City, strengthening Minter’s dedicated art philanthropy with the organization.
Splendid and sensual, ‘Pretty/Dirty’ includes works such as ‘Pop Rocks’, a large-scale, enamel on metal canvas work, featuring glossy lips and an ecstatic tongue swirling in pleasure, while accented with gems. In ‘Torrent’, a misty close-up of a seductive red mouth is seen toying with pearls. Minter’s seminal film ‘Green Pink Caviar’ paints a scene of a slovenly mouth sloppily consuming caviar, this of course is her essence and why her work thrives, that enticing juxtaposition of disgust and sophistication. In another video, ‘Smash’, manicured feet in bejeweled high-heeled sandals kick and shatter glass, the shards of prettily-colored glass and the ostentatious shoes resemble a short fashion film. Minter has been courted extensively by the fashion community, having shot ad campaigns for Tom Ford and Jimmy Choo, an outlet where she continues her loaded visual dialogue on desire and materialism on a commercial scale.
Minter’s fourth solo exhibit recently on view through December 22 at Salon 94 Bowery included 7 new paintings honoring the beauty of the bush. An editorial on women’s pubic hair originally commissioned by Playboy Magazine - which was ironically turned down - became the subject of her monograph ‘Plush’. ‘Plush’ formed the basis of her latest body of work, which represented various women’s nether areas behind steamed windows, bathed in sumptuous and iridescent shades of lilac, mauve, fleshtone, and carnation pink.
‘Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty’ will be on view through April 2, 2017 as part of the museum’s ‘A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum’
This article originally appeared in Duggal Connect.
Photo grid above from L to R: Torrent, 2013. Enamel on metal (96 x 60 in). Private collection, Palm Beach Florida. Black Orchid, 2012. C-print (86 x 57 in). Courtesy of the artist, Salon 94, New York and Regen Projects, Los Angeles. Glazed, 2006. Enamel on metal ( 96 x 60 in). Collection of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn. Drizzle (Wangechi Mutu), 2010. Enamel on metal (96 x 60 in). Holzer Family Collection.