Marilyn Minter

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Marilyn Minter (born 1948) is an American artist currently living and working in New York City. Marilyn Minter has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005, the Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, Les Rencontres d'Arles festival in 2007, France, OH in 2009, La Conservera, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Ceutí/Murcia, Spain in 2009, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH in 2010 and the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Germany in 2011. Her video Green Pink Caviar was exhibited in the lobby of the MoMA for over a year, and was also shown on digital billboards on Sunset Boulevard in LA, and the Creative Time MTV billboard in Times Square, New York.

She has been included in numerous group exhibitions in museums all over the world. In 2006, Marilyn Minter was included in the Whitney Biennial, and in a collaboration with Creative Time she installed billboards all over Chelsea in New York city. In 2009, she had a solo exhibit at Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Salon 94, New York. In the spring of 2011, Minter had a solo exhibition of her work from the 80's at Team Gallery, New York, and another solo exhibition with Salon 94, New York. She was featured in Commercial Break, at the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture and POST, for the 2011 Venice Biennale. Her work is featured in “Riotous Baroque”, a group exhibition that originated at the Kunsthaus Zurich which will travel to the Guggenheim Bilbao in June 2013. Currently, Minter is showing five new large scale paintings at her second solo exhibition at Regen Projects, Los Angeles. According to the press release, the new work "deepens Minter’s investigation of how we communicate with the illusion of glamour via advertising in public spaces."

Minter currently teaches in the MFA department at the School of Visual Arts in New York,[1] and is preparing for a traveling retrospective of her work which open in 2015 and travel to numerous locations to be announced.

Early life[edit]

Minter was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and raised in Florida.[2]

While still a student in Florida, Minter created a series of photographic studies that involved her drug-addicted mother, which is now praised. Through the 1980s, she explored Pop-derived pictures often incorporating sexuality, setting the tone for many of her works.[3] Marilyn 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 in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when she started collaborating with German expressionist painter Christof Kohlhofer. 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.[4] Minter then began to incorporate imagery borrowed from advertising and the porn industry into her art.


Her photographs and works often include sexuality and erotic imagery. Minter begins her process by staging photo shoots with film. She uses conventional darkroom processes. 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.[3]


1989: Minter created a series of works based on images from hardcore pornography, she believes that nobody has politically correct fantasies. Minter thinks that women should have sexual imagery for their own pleasure. She reclaimed images from an abusive history asking the question, does it change the meaning if a woman uses these kinds of images. At the time this was a very complicated issue, and there were no simple answers. The timing was terrible as this was the pinnacle of political correctness.

1990: Minter produced her first video "100 Food Porn" This video was used as a television advertisement to promote her exhibition at the Simon Watson Gallery in New York. Minter used the gallery's art advertising budget to buy 30 seconds on late night television in lieu of traditional print ad's. This was the very first commercial to advertise an artists' show on late night television. She bought time slots on David Letterman, Arsenio Hall, and Nightline. (It cost $1,800 to buy a 30-second slot on David Letterman at that time.) "100 Food Porn" was shot and directed by NY documentary filmmaker Ted Haimes.

Through the 1990s she refined her works, which despite still having pornographic undertones, exuded a sense of glamour and high-fashion.

2005: Minter had a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This exhibition focused on hyperrealistic close-ups of seemingly glamorous images, including makeup-laden lips, eyes, and toes.

2006: Minter was featured in the Whitney Bienniale, and in a partnership with Creative Time, Minter 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 in Chelsea for a month.

2007: Minter's first retrospective monograph was published Minter had shows in Sweden, the U.K., Spain, and France. A series of photographs she took of Pamela Anderson, commissioned by the art quarterly Parkett, were later featured on the cover of Zoetrope: All-Story. Her book involved a heavy gloss, multi-colored paper making it feel almost wet, setting the book apart. She was presented at the Rencontres d'Arles festival, France. Laureate to the Discovery Award.

2008: Minter collaborated with international skate/street wear brand Supreme to produce three limited edition skate decks.

2009: Minter produced her second video "Green Pink Caviar" Variations of "Green Pink Caviar" video were shown on billboards in Times Square, New York city and in Los Angeles. Excerpts of the same video were used as the backdrop for the opening song in Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour. The full length version of the video was played in the lobby of the Museum of Modern Art for more than a year.

In April 2015 Marilyn Minter opened her first major retrospective in the Museum of Contemporary Art Houston.[5] This exhibition is made up of paintings that Minter had developed as long ago as 1976 to as modern as 2013.[6] 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. Since the beginning of her career Minter has developed a name for herself in the art industry by having her work published in numerous popular American magazines and networks. She most recently she began creating enamel on metal paintings with a signature silver liquid.[7] Some of Minter's past exhibitions have centered around up close images of flaws, cracked feet, glitter, glam,[8] and all them incorporate a layered look that draws the eyes attention with its depth.[9] 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.[6] This collection is scheduled to travel around the nation until 2017. Currently the exhibit can be visited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Houston and after September it will be moved to the Contemporary Art Museum Denver until 2015. After these locations it will be on exhibit at the Orange County Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum in 2016 and 2017.[6] This retrospective display of her work incorporates many different developmental stages of her career. Minter continues to publish her work in magazines and working with companies such as MTV.


  1. ^ "Marilyn Minter in 'Modern Painters' Magazine". School of Visual Arts. April 12, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  2. ^ Viladas, Pilar (February 09, 2017). "Inside Marilyn Minter's Colorful, Irrepressible, Art-Filled Hideaway in the Woods". W. Retrieved April 27, 2017.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ a b Robert Ayers (July 26, 2007), Marilyn Minter, ARTINFO, retrieved April 23, 2008 
  4. ^ Mallory Curley, A Cookie Mueller Encyclopedia, pp. 265-266
  5. ^ "Marilyn Minter on Her First Major Retrospective". Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c "Pretty/Dirty". CAMH. Contemporary Art Museum Houston. Retrieved May 11, 2015. 
  7. ^ Harris, Malcolm. "Women in Art: Marilyn Minter". Huffington Post Arts & Culture. The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ Vartanian, Ivan; Crump, James; Steele, Valerie; Blanks, Tim; Delamore, Philip; Bruzzi, Stella (2011). High Heels. Goliga. ISBN 978-1-935202-69-1. 
  9. ^ Glentzer, Molly. "Artist Marilyn Minter finds truth more beautiful than Photoshop". Houston Chronicle. The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 

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

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