Marilyn Minter

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Marilyn Minter
Known forPhotography, Painting

Marilyn Minter (born 1948) is an American visual artist who is perhaps best known for her sensual paintings and photographs done in the photorealism style that blur the line between commercial and fine art.[1] Minter currently teaches in the MFA department at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Minter was born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1948.[1] She was raised in Florida.[4]

In 1970 she attained a BFA from the University of Florida in Gainesville.[5] In 1972 she received an MFA in painting from Syracuse University.[5]


Her photographs and works often include sexuality and erotic imagery.[1] Minter's process begins by staging photoshoots with film. She eschews digital manipulation, instead favoring a conventional darkroom process for developing stills. She does not crop or digitally manipulate her photographs. Her paintings, on the other hand, are made by combining negatives in photoshop to make a whole new image. This new image is then turned into paintings created through the layering of enamel paint on aluminum. Minter and her assistants work directly from this newly created digital image. The last layer is applied with fingertips to create a modeling or softening of the paintbrush lines.[6]


Minter's career began while she was a student at the University of Florida, where she created a series of photographic studies involving her drug-addicted mother with the guidance of Diane Arbus.[7] Minter later moved to New York City in 1976, after earning a master of fine arts degree at Syracuse University, and began collaborating with the German expressionist painter Christof Kohlhofer.[7] Through the 1980s, she explored Pop-derived pictures often incorporating sexuality, setting the tone for many of her works.[6] Although their joint work gained critical acclaim, when their 1984 and 1986 shows at the Gracie Mansion gallery were not commercially successful, Kohlhofer and Minter parted ways.[8] Minter then began to incorporate imagery borrowed from advertising and the porn industry into her art.

In 1989, Minter created a series of works based on images from hardcore pornography, based on her belief that nobody has politically correct fantasies. Her goal was to create sexual imagery for women to enjoy. She reclaimed images from a male-dominated and often abusive industry, asking audiences whether the meaning was changed when the image was used by a woman. In 1990, Minter produced her first video, 100 Food Porn, shot and directed by NY documentary filmmaker Ted Haimes. This video was used as a television advertisement to promote her exhibition at the Simon Watson Gallery in New York.[7] Minter used the gallery's art advertising budget to buy 30 second slots on Late Night with David Letterman in lieu of traditional print advertising, becoming the first artist to advertise an artists' exhibition on late night television.[7] Through the 1990s she refined her works. While still having pornographic undertones, they began to exude a sense of glamour and high-fashion. In 1998, Minter received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for Fine Arts.[9]

In 2003, she was in the exhibition 4 Walls, 8 Views at the Arena Gallery founded by Art curator Renee Riccardo[10] in New York, NY. In 2005 Minter had a solo exhibition, titled New Work: Marilyn Minter, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, focused on hyperrealistic close-ups of seemingly glamorous images, including makeup-laden lips, eyes, and toes.[11] The following year Minter was featured in the Whitney Bienniale, and in a partnership with Creative Time, was given ad space on four billboards in Manhattan's Chelsea district. The billboards presented photographs of high heels kicking around in dirty water, and stayed up for a month.

Minter's first retrospective monograph was published in 2007. Her book involved a heavy gloss, multi-colored paper making it feel almost wet, setting the book apart. This same year, she had shows in Sweden, the U.K., Spain, and France. In 2007, Minter also produced a series of photographs of the actress Pamela Anderson, commissioned by the art quarterly Parkett.[12]

In 2008, Minter collaborated with international skate/street wear brand Supreme to produce three limited edition skate decks. In 2009 she produced the video Green Pink Caviar.[13] Lush and sensual, the video depicts a series of tongues, covered in candy, that "paint" across a glass surface.[13] The video was later shown in Times Square in New York City.[1] Excerpts of the video were used as the backdrop for the opening song in Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour.[14] In 2010 the video was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art.[5]

In 2014, Minter published a 500 limited edition book called PLUSH, which is a compilation 70 photographs of female pubic hair.[15] In April 2015 Marilyn Minter opened her first major retrospective at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.[16] This exhibition is made up of paintings from between 1976 and 2013.[17] The exhibit is titled Pretty/Dirty, and includes some of her early work, such as Little Girls #1 and Big Girls from her collection Big Girls/Little Girls. Minter's Pretty/Dirty exhibition is the first time all of these pieces of work can be seen together in one museum. The exhibit was co-curated by Bill Arning and Elissa Auther.[17] This collection travelled around the nation until 2017. This retrospective display of her work incorporated many different developmental stages of her career. Since the beginning of her career Minter published in numerous popular American magazines and networks. She most recently she began creating enamel on metal paintings with a signature silver liquid.[18] Some of Minter's past exhibitions have centered around up close images of flaws, cracked feet, glitter, glam,[19] and all them incorporate a layered look that draws the eyes attention with its depth.[20]

In 2018 Minter collaborated with For Freedoms, an artist-run platform for civic engagement, to create a billboard poster for the 50 State Initiative, a major billboard campaign that aims to encourage political participation and voting. Displayed in Little Rock, Arkansas, Minter's billboard resembles graffiti, with the word “sad!” in red, blue, and purple spray paint. Minter intended for her billboard to criticize Donald Trump, stating, "I couldn’t be political, but I would have been really aggressive if I could...This is as mild as I could get. Taking one of his signature words and trying to re-purpose it into a really sad-looking word."[21]

The 50 State Initiative was deeply personal to Minter. She stated, “I think it’s important for everyone to get involved, not just artists. If you’re not upset, you’re not awake,” she said. “I just can’t tolerate injustice, but who can? I just don’t ignore it, and that’s really it.”[22]

Select Exhibitions[edit]

Marilyn Minter has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including:


Minter is represented by the following galleries: Salon94 in New York, Regen Projects in Los Angeles, and Baldwin Gallery in Aspen. [3]


Marilyn Minter, Gregory R. Miller & Co., 2007 ISBN 978-0-9743648-6-5


  1. ^ a b c d "Marilyn Minter", Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Marilyn Minter in 'Modern Painters' Magazine". School of Visual Arts. April 12, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  3. ^ a b 50 contemporary women artists : [groundbreaking contemporary art from 1960 to now]. Gosslee, John,, Zises, Heather,, Sackler, Elizabeth A. Atglen, PA. 2018. ISBN 9780764356537. OCLC 1064676444.CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. ^ Viladas, Pilar (February 9, 2017). "Inside Marilyn Minter's Colorful, Irrepressible, Art-Filled Hideaway in the Woods". W. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "Marilyn Minter CV", Salon 94, Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  6. ^ a b Robert Ayers (July 26, 2007), Marilyn Minter, ARTINFO, retrieved April 23, 2008
  7. ^ a b c d Ghorashi, Hannah. "I Want Women to Look Like They Can't Get Thrown Away: Marilyn Minter on her Retrospective, Pretty/Dirty", Artnews, Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  8. ^ Mallory Curley, A Cookie Mueller Encyclopedia, pp. 265-266
  9. ^ "Marilyn Minter", John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  10. ^ "BIO". Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "New Work: Marilyn Minter", SFMOMA, Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Marilyn Minter, Pamela Anderson", Parkett, Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Green Pink Caviar", Cranbrook Art Museum, Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  14. ^ Bernstein, Jacob. "Madonna and Marilyn Minter Discuss Art and Protest", The New York Times, Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  15. ^ "PLUSH"], Artist's website, Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Marilyn Minter on Her First Major Retrospective". Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Pretty/Dirty". CAMH. Contemporary Art Museum Houston. Archived from the original on April 5, 2015. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  18. ^ Harris, Malcolm. "Women in Art: Marilyn Minter". Huffington Post Arts & Culture. The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  19. ^ Vartanian, Ivan; Crump, James; Steele, Valerie; Blanks, Tim; Delamore, Philip; Bruzzi, Stella (2011). High Heels. Goliga. ISBN 978-1-935202-69-1.
  20. ^ Glentzer, Molly. "Artist Marilyn Minter finds truth more beautiful than Photoshop". Houston Chronicle. The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  21. ^ Vanderhoof, Erin. "The Striking Election-Season Billboards That Are Also Art". Vanities. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  22. ^ Vanderhoof, Erin. "The Striking Election-Season Billboards That Are Also Art". Vanities. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  23. ^ "Marilyn Minter: Chewing Color", Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  24. ^ "Marilyn Minter: Orange Crush", MCA Cleveland, Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  25. ^ "Marilyn Minter: Pretty Dirty", Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Retrieved 17 November 2018.

External links[edit]