Marilyn Minter’s work examines glamour and its seedy underbelly through a juxtaposition of photorealistic paintings and painterly photographs which hone in on the moment where “clarity becomes abstraction and beauty commingles with the grotesque.” In her upcoming show at Salon 94, Minter will present “Pop Rocks,” her largest painting to date. An exploration of painting with the tongue, Minter directed her models to lick brightly colored candy on a sheet of glass and then photographed them from the other side. The tongues mixed the “paint” with saliva, slurping and pushing the color around the glass surface. In the Time Out New York “Studio Visit” column, T.J. Carlin visited Marilyn Minter last week.
You have a show coming up at Salon 94, as well as a video project in Times Square for Creative Time, for which you’ve created a trailer. What’s that about?
While I was taking photos for paintings, my makeup artist Regina Harris picked up my 10-year-old digital camera and started shooting me shooting. And it looked so good that we decided to hire a professional, Austin Lynn Austin, to make a video out of it. This is going up in Times Square and also in a couple of museum shows. I always see movie trailers, and think, I’d love to make an ad for a show! So we made one. It’s going to be showing at the Sunshine theater on Houston Street. Austin is used to shooting MAC products, so I knew he’d be able to do this. We edited it together, actually. We’re trying to get it into theaters in L.A., but they don’t understand it. They’re like, “What do you mean you have a trailer, but not for a movie?!?” They can’t wrap their brains around it….
Your work has always been about crossing boundaries, hasn’t it?
About collapsing boundaries, yeah. I love my paintings, but I don’t see them as precious. As long as I maintain the integrity of the ideas, I make T-shirts for the Whitney, I make skateboards. Because the paintings are so expensive, I love getting things out there that anyone could have if they wanted to.
When one gets close to your paintings, it seems like they’re abstract. Would you agree?
Yeah, that’s what we do. You go close to my paintings and they fall apart. I’m not really a photorealist. I’m a photo-replacer. I coined that term. It means I replace the photos with intense, rich surfaces that really turn me on. You can’t get that in oil paint. You can only get that with translucent layers of enamel, which is something I invented around 1993, I guess. I started softening the enamel with my fingers because you couldn’t do it with brushes. If you look close, all the paintings are covered in fingerprints.
“Marilyn Minter: Green Pink Caviar,” Salon 94, New York, NY. April 28 -June 13.