Monday, September 20, the shortlist for YouTube Play was
announced. These 125
videos will now be viewed by the jury, whose top 20
be presented at the museum on October 21 and 22. In the
interview, we sat down with artist and juror Marilyn Minter to
her thoughts on art, life, advertising on TV, and kittens on YouTube.
Marilyn, how are you? How was your summer?
I've been traveling all
summer, and I'm in the middle of moving into a brand-new studio, so it's
been pretty hectic.
let's get down to business. You work in several mediums, including
painting, photography, and video. Could you tell us about your work?
I think that all these practices are interrelated;
in my case it's been
really organic. I've always worked from
images that already exist in our
culture, and I just tweak them—I
photograph my vision/interpretation of things
exist, and I take it to the extreme. And then I make paintings
What I wanted to focus on in this
short interview is something
groundbreaking that you did in
the '80s for your exhibition 100
Food Porn. Instead of
which is what artists
(galleries) usually did and still do,
you took the money, made a commercial, and put it on
Could you give us all the details about this?
Nobody knew it at
the time—I guess they don't even know it now! But ads
late-night TV are very inexpensive. In 1989, 30 seconds on David
was $1,800. It's not like you were buying an ad that would air in the
country, just the tristate area. I love seeing ads that intrigue
At the time, I was on the artist board of the New Museum, and they were
to think of ways to get more people into the museum. I
they make a TV ad for shows at the museum,
that Bruce Nauman
should do the ad; I thought it would be so great. But they
weren't interested. Someone said, "Why
don't you make it for your own
as sort of an insult, and I thought okay . . . I will! I made the
JUST so I could make the commercial. I traded the paintings for
etc. I only needed cash to buy the air
time. So I took the
budget for Artforum ads, Art
in America, etc. and I
time on David Letterman, Arsenio
Hall, and Nightline. I called the
show 100 Food Porn
because at the time there were all these ads for like
kind of reactions did you get? You were definitely far ahead of
time, since artists are still not advertising on TV.
Well some people liked it, but not
the Academy. The idea of collapsing high
and low culture just
wasn't in the vernacular. I keep thinking artists
advertise their shows on TV (I think we could make some really cool
for our work). Now I think we should advertise our shows at the
or other progressive venues, but the movie theaters can't wrap
head around this at all . . . I really tried with my new video, and I
only get into the Sunshine Theater before the midnight showing.
Your commercial is next to a
commercial for M&M's. I thought
very smart, given that your initials are indeed MM.
Did you do this on
purpose? Were you able to choose which
commercials to place your commercial between?
I did it on
purpose. When I made this three minute excerpt for Youtube I
out the insurance ads, the makeup, cars, etc. Wen my commercial
aired, the programmer for the station came up with the placement
my commercial in relation to other commercials. If they liked the ads
put the commercial on in the beginning of the show. If they don't like
they put them at the end of the show because they think people will be
The M&M's commercial was one of
many that aired along with my
video. I made a whole bunch of M&M's paintings around the same time.
So I thought keeping that ad in was appropriate.
have a common interest/addiction: funny YouTube videos. Could you
me some of your favorites?
in a studio with lots of young people, most of whom are my former
students. We delight in trading YouTube videos! We all stop working to
them. I'm totally addicted to ANYTHING with kittens and puppies, but "Very Scared Kid" is one of my favorites.