Magazine article Artforum International

Marilyn Minter: Salon 94

Magazine article Artforum International

Marilyn Minter: Salon 94

Article excerpt

Marilyn Minter

SALON 94

Anyone with even a passing acquaintance with pornography--which, given its utter digital ubiquity, is pretty much anybody who's ever turned on a computer--will know that the contemporary taste in female pubic hair (certainly, at least, among the largely male producers and consumers of erotica) has for some time been decidedly on the side of less is more. And so it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that a few years ago, when Marilyn Minter was commissioned by Playboy's creative director, curator Neville Wakefield, to produce a project for a special issue of the magazine, her photographs focusing on a range of women in their naturally undepilated state were not particularly well received. Of course, the images were Minter at her thorny best: Complicating simple narratives of seduction and revulsion, and provocatively against the grain, they worked to make the private as starkly public as possible in their depictions of a variety of montes in tightly focused Technicolor close-up. Minter's photos--rejected by the magazine, they were later published instead as a limited-edition book--were designed not only as unruly troublings of the now-familiar media images of tidy manicuring, but also, the artist has said, as "promotional" images of a sort, intended to give women "more choices" in how they decide to present themselves, sexually and otherwise.

Minter's new suite of paintings--seven of which were on view here, in a show that coincided with the Brooklyn Museum's presentation of her traveling retrospective "Pretty/Dirty"--descend directly from those images. For these new works, the artist rephotographed her models, this time situating them behind gently obscuring panes of steamed glass. Then she used the pictures to produce some of the most technically accomplished paintings of her career: large-scale, enamelon-metal works whose luscious surfaces oscillate almost magically between abstraction and figuration, between an atomized, vaguely pointillist micro-level pictorial environment and a brand of macroscale representational lucidity that, from a few steps back, suddenly resolves into knockout Photorealism. The figures in works (all 2016) such as Thigh Gap, Ginger, and Tender most literally recall the original photographic project, their pubic areas isolated, but now behind sweating glass, the entire compositions seeming to literally drip with humidity. …

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