Marilyn Minter b. 1948, Shreveport, Louisiana
Enamel on two metal panels
114 x 76 inches (289.6 x 193 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Purchased with funds contributed by the International Director's Council and Executive Committee Members: Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian, Christina Baker, Janna Bullock, Rita Rovelli Caltagirone, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, Harry David, Caryl Englander, Shirley Fiterman, Laurence Graff, Nicki Harris, Dakis Joannou, Rachel Lehmann, Linda Macklowe, Peter Norton, Katharina Otto-Bernstein, Tonino Perna, Inga Rubenstein, Simonetta Seragnoli, Cathie Shriro, Ginny Williams, and Elliot K. Wolk, and Sustaining Members: Linda Fischbach, Beatrice Habermann, and Cargill and Donna MacMillan, 2008
Marilyn Minter's sumptuous depictions of designer-shod feet—which stalked across billboards in New York's Chelsea gallery district as part of a public art project in 2006—have become signature images in the artist's oeuvre. Drawing on the potent erotic charge of the high heel, Minter amplifies its currency as a fetishized sexual signifier by the liberal application of grime and water—making it literally, as well as figuratively, “dirty.” In Dirty Heel (2008), there is a subtle shift in emphasis; the stiletto recedes from view in a haze of shimmering pastels while the besmirched foot is delineated with crisp verisimilitude. These shifting planes of focus are indicative of the photographic underpinnings of the artist's process, wherein she draws on multiple photographs as she builds up a composite image in luminous enamel paint. Here, the fleshy mass of the heel becomes an isolated anatomical fragment, a trope typical of the pornographic images appropriated by Minter in an earlier series of paintings. Unmoored from the body, scaled up, and intensely cropped, the forms are at first glance barely legible as a figurative image, hovering seductively on the brink of abstraction.