Marilyn Minter on Bad Boys and Old Ladies: The Art World Loves Them

by Paddy Johnson on October 23, 2015 Blurb

After looking at the Minter show in Denver, I spent a bit of time watching a panel discussion on the show at The Contemporary Art Museum Houston between Director Bill Arning with Curator Elissa Auther, artist Marilyn Minter and cultural critic Linda Yablonsky this spring. I didn’t end up using any of it in the review, but there’s some great material here. A few highlights:

Marilyn Minter on Bad Boys and Old Ladies: The art world loves young bad boys old ladies. And when old ladies use sexual content they really love you. When you’re young and beautiful you get …look what happens Louise Bourgeois holds that phallus and Robert Mapplethorpe. And then Miley Cyrus holds it. What happened to Miley Cyrus? Everyone loves Joan Semmel now. Everyone loves Dorothy [inaudible]. Everyone loves Judith Bernstein. Everyone loves me. Carol Rama, Betty Tompkins. If they’re old they can do whatever they want.

Linda Yablonsky: Carmen Herrera who is 100 is getting her first exposure as a contemporary artist next week at the opening of the Whitney Museum. On her 101st birthday they’re giving her a retrospective. 80 is the new 20.

Marilyn Minter on Plush, a series of photographs of women’s public hair: [in 2013] Neville Wakefield was asked by Playboy to revamp it and in the 60’s, I remember in the south, Playboy was pretty much the only radical magazine you could read. I had copies of Ernest Hemmingway, James Baldwin, Pablo Picasso, just in one issue. What’s changed? Fashion disappears, but laser is forever. All the playboy models had lasik and shaved off their public hair, so we had to wait a few months for it to grow back.  Hugh Heffner got wind of what we were doing and put a stop to it. Richard Prince wanted to do a book called “Plush”, so I shot some more.

Marilyn Minter on censorship. “We have to let artists have their vision, no matter who it affects.”


Marilyn Minter on her painting process: All of the paintings, I know I call them photorealist, but the idea of a photorealism is that the joy and the thrill is to look up close and it looks like a photo. And my paintings are these little abstract sections that we stitch together and they are done layers so there’s a depth. And there’s a kind of beauty I could only get with enamel paint. There are very thin translucent layers, they aren’t opaque, so you can really see colors beneath and colors behind. I developed this technique in the 90’s. The first layer is a real rough coat, the second layer gets a little smoother. and there’s a lot of us doing these layers so they are really intricate and hard to do and it takes three years to learn how to work with enamel paint the way I want people to work with it.




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