Marilyn Minter b. 1948, Shreveport, Louisiana
86 x 60 inches (218.4 x 152.4 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 2007
Over the past forty years, Marilyn Minter has created a body of work that scrutinizes the layers of fantasy, aspiration, and desire that define the representation of femininity in popular culture. While most of her early work is based on appropriated images drawn from advertisements, fashion pages, and pornography, in the last decade she has begun to stage her own distinctively styled photographs, focusing on fragments of anatomy in moments of “glamour gone awry”: spidery eyelashes clogged with glitter; a trail of hair on a toned midriff; feet encased in jeweled designer sandals splashing through murky puddles. Minter selects the most successful photographs as autonomous artworks, while others become templates for her paintings, executed with dazzling technical facility in multiple layers of enamel paint. In Satiated (2003), strings of pearls spill from a heavily lip-glossed mouth—an image of voracious appetite in which seductive decadence is offset by a sense of nauseating surfeit. Characteristically, Minter revels in depicting beads of sweat on freckled skin and lipstick marks on teeth, rupturing the veneer of polished artifice with the inevitable imperfections of the body in its natural state, and allowing reality to intrude on the illusory standards of beauty perpetuated by the fashion industry.