Still from Smash, 2014 (All Photos By Gail)
Marilyn Minter’s sensual paintings, photographs, and videos vividly explore complex and contradictory emotions around beauty and the feminine body in American culture. She trains a critical eye on the power of desire, questioning the fashion industry’s commercialization of sex and the body. Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty, now on view at the Brooklyn Museum, is the first retrospective of her work.
Spanning more than four decades, the exhibition begins with the artist’s earliest artworks, from 1969 through 1986, including rarely exhibited photographs as well as paintings incorporating photorealist and Pop art techniques.
The show continues with works from the late 1980s and 1990s that examine visual pleasure in visceral depictions of food and sex. I didn’t take any photos of the “Junk Shots,” as I like to call them, because that doesn’t really do much for me: I find it boring and it detracts from the other works, in my opinion. But if pictures of penises are your thing, them come on down!
The exhibition culminates in Minter’s ongoing investigation of how the beauty industry expertly creates and manipulates desire through images.
These fashion / beauty shots, which are all so elegantly manipulated and transformed, were my favorite pieces in the show.
This one is so beautiful. For some reason, it reminds me of an old photo I’ve seen of Peter Gabriel, when he was still fronting Genesis. It’s surprising to me that more Rock Stars don’t commission Minter to shoot their portraits and album covers. Maybe that is because there are no real Rock Stars anymore. Sad.
The exhibit also features a short, silent film called Smash, which I liked very much. In Smash, a pair of metallic-toned manicured feet wearing bejeweled high-heeled sandals kick and shatter glass, in the middle of a rain storm, or something. Smash reminded me of when I used to go clubbing back in the late eighties and early nineties. Good times.
Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty will be on Exhibit Through April 2nd, 2017 in the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor at the Brooklyn Museum.