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Mind Openers: Sexier When Wet: The Art of Marilyn Minter


By Bekah Wright

Published Oct 1, 2009 8:00 AM


Minter's piece Gimme, 2008. Photos courtesy of Salon 94, New York.

Mouths and tongues are prominent in Marilyn Minters' works, which seems in keeping with the New York-based artist's desire to reach her audience. "Communication is everything," she says. "Everybody just wants someone to be able to hear them." Such will be the case when Minter speaks at UCLA Department of Art's Visiting Artists Lecture on October 22 at the Billy Wilder Theater.


Wangechi Gold 5, 2009.

Beyond sharing her photographs and enamel-on-metal paintings via a power point presentation, Minter will be screening two of her videos, including the eight-and-a-half-minute "Green Pink Caviar." The video was first broadcast on MTV's digital billboard in Times Square as part of Creative Times' video art program. It caught the attention of Madonna, who bought the video to screen during the first number in her "Sticky & Sweet" concert tour. "Green Pink Caviar" will also be displayed throughout October in Los Angeles on digital billboards along Sunset Boulevard as well as being projected on the Regen Projects building.

Much of Minters' work, like "Green Pink Caviar," is noted for its sensual and erotic bent. "I like the way things look when they start melting and falling apart," she says. "People look sexier wet, don't they?" Still, she explains, "I'm not thinking in terms of eroticism as much as in making something compelling."

Her perspective definitely has its own unique spin. "In the commercial world, they'll show models gently kissing jewelry with their mouths, I have the models put the jewelry in their mouths until they start to choke on it." Back in the 1980s, some critics protested Minters' art as being anti-feminist. She says nothing could be further from the truth. "I like the idea of pro-sex feminism and women owning sexual imagery for their own pleasure. I really believed no one had politically correct fantasies. I still believe that."

Indeed, Minters' goal as an artist seems more thought-provoking than provocative. "I'm asking questions more than trying to provide answers."

Visiting Artists Lecture Series: Marilyn Minter. Thursday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m. Bill Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum. Free. For more information, call (310) 443-7000 or visit