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Marilyn Minter’s Dazzling New Retrospective, ‘Pretty/Dirty’ at the Brooklyn Museum

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Marilyn Minter’s Dazzling New Retrospective, ‘Pretty/Dirty’ at the Brooklyn Museum

Marilyn Minter has been exploring an intoxicating relationship between glamour and grime, unapologetically, for the past 40 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. Approximately 40 works are on display, dated from 1969 to present, in a traveling exhibit that previously stopped in Houston, Denver, and Newport Beach, CA.

Marilyn Minter (American, b. 1948). Pop Rocks, 2009. Enamel on metal, 108 x 180 in. (274.3 x 457.2 cm). Collection of Danielle and David Ganek

Focusing on beauty, the female body, and a woman’s sexual agency, Minter – now age 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 were 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 in which 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.

Marilyn Minter (American, b. 1948). Torrent, 2013 Enamel on metal, 96 x 60 in. (243.8 x 152.4 cm). Private collection, Palm Beach, Florida

Splendid and sensual, ‘Pretty/Dirty’ includes works such as ‘Pop Rocks’, a large-scale, enamel on metal canvas featuring glossy lips and an ecstatic tongue swirling in pleasure 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.

Marilyn Minter (American, b. 1948). Still from Smash, 2014.
HD digital video, 7 min., 55 sec. Courtesy of the artist, Salon 94, New York, and Regen Projects, Los Angeles

Marilyn Minter (American, b. 1948). Still from Green Pink Caviar, 2009. HD digital video, 7 min., 45 sec. Courtesy of the artist, Salon 94, New York, and Regen Projects, Los Angeles

Minter’s fourth solo exhibit, recently on view 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 rejected – became the subject of her monograph ‘Plush,” which formed the basis of her latest body of work representing various women’s nether areas behind steamed windows, bathed in sumptuous and iridescent shades of lilac, mauve, fleshtone, and carnation pink.

Marilyn Minter (American, b. 1948). Glazed, 2006. Enamel on metal, 96 x 60 in. (243.8 x 152.4 cm). Collection of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn, New York

Marilyn Minter (American, b. 1948). Black Orchid, 2012. C-print, 86 x 57 in. (218.4 x 144.8 cm). Courtesy of the artist, Salon 94, New York, and Regen Projects, Los Angeles

‘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’ exhibition.

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