My fifth entry to the Slambase collective: visual artist Marilyn Minter.
About Marilyn Minter
Marilyn Minter is nothing short of an interesting artist. Born in 1948 in Shreveport, LA, and raised in Florida, she attended the University of Florida and began taking pictures of her drug-addict mother. The shoot occurred over a weekend in 1969, was praised by visiting professor (and legend) Diane Arbus, and so horrified her classmates that the shots didn’t re-surface for almost 30 years.
After finishing up her degree in Florida, she attended Syracuse University and received a Master of Fine Arts. Shortly thereafter, she moved to New York City and was quickly wrapped up in the nightclub scene before becoming a teacher at a Catholic boys school. Luckily in 1985, Minter returned to art and her career would take off from there.
In 1989, Minter began working with images that were nothing short of hardcore porn. Large penises, nipples, pubic hair, it didn’t matter, this was art. Well, maybe not to everyone; feminists were upset that the photographs displayed the objectification and victimization of women, rather than the absurdity of it all. But just a year later, at the beginning of the 1990s, Minter became instantly famous (and probably a little infamous) with her television ad, 100 Food Porn.
Over the next 15 years, Minter would be exhibited extensively across the United States and beyond and in 2005, secured a spot for a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The next year, in 2006, besides renting four billboards in Manhattan’s Chelsea District to display her works, Minter was asked to appear at the Whitney Biennial and use her work as the invitation image.
In the past few years, Minter has published a book, created a set of three skateboard decks with Supreme using some of her most famous pictures, produced an ad campaign for fashion giant Tom Ford, and her video “Green Pink Caviar” was used as an intro for Madonna’s 2009 tour. She already has three shows lined up for 2010.
“I’m always hungry,” says Minter. “Success brings you a lot of things, but it can be as difficult to deal with as failure. The most important thing is to always protect the art.”
Marilyn Minter – Work
Minter is a photographer, painter and videographer. Alternating between the mediums, all of her work has been explosive. Sometimes this is a great thing, like in the case of the Tom Ford ad, but other times not so much. Besides being graphic, Minter’s work is very focused. In recent years, she seems to concentrate on one particular element at a time, which is usually a body part. The common recurring images are eyes, lips, tongues and feet. But the body parts on their own aren’t important, it’s that Minter photographs their function in hypersensitive detail i.e. feet in heels walking through the rain, a mouth blowing bubbles. Although provocative, Minter has cemented herself as one of the great artists of the second-half of the 21st- century and at the end of the day, whether people like her or not, they talk about her…and she’s not even dead yet.