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 1980s 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]


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. Minter used the gallery's art advertising budget to buy 30 second slots on David Letterman, Arsenio Hall, and Nightline in lieu of traditional print advertising. This was the first commercial to advertise an artists' show on late night television.

Through the 1990s she refined her works. While still having pornographic undertones, they began to exude a sense of glamour and high-fashion.

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

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

In 2009 she produced her second video, "Green Pink Caviar." Variations of "Green Pink Caviar" video were shown on billboards in New York City and in Los Angeles. Excerpts of the 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 2014, Minter published a 500 limited edition book called PLUSH which is a compilation 70 photographs of female pubic hair.

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 from between 1976 and 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. 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 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.[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]


  1. ^ "Marilyn Minter in 'Modern Painters' Magazine". School of Visual Arts. April 12, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  2. ^ Viladas, Pilar (February 9, 2017). "Inside Marilyn Minter's Colorful, Irrepressible, Art-Filled Hideaway in the Woods". W. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  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 "Pretty/Dirty". CAMH. Contemporary Art Museum Houston. Archived from the original on April 5, 2015. 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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