Marilyn Minter

American, b. 1948

Goldie, 2004, C print, 40 x 26 inches


In visceral and gaudy paintings, photographs, and video works, Marilyn Minter examines the relationship between the body, cultural anxieties about sexuality and desire, and fashion imagery. Minter is best known for glossy, hyperrealistic paintings in enamel on metal that depict closeups of makeup-laden lips, eyes, and feet—a liquid-dripping gold-toothed smile or a pair of glistening high heels splashing in metallic fluid.  Minter also photographs body parts seen through panes of wet glass, captured from characteristically dynamic and provocative angles that suggest the seductive, disturbing nature of glamour.

Minter's work uses hypersexualization to critique contemporary culture while reducing the human figure to a series of grotesque and tempting body parts. “When I think about my work, I mostly think about the paradox that goes on when you look at these images," she has said. “How much pleasure glamour gives us but at the same time, how we know we'll never look like that, and even [models] don't look like that. There's this constant distortion that's happening between all of us—men and women—there's a sense of failure. But at the same time, all of this pleasure.”

Minter first found artistic popularity in the early 1990s, and her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005 and a major retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston in 2015. Minter currently lives, works, and teaches in New York, NY.