Open: Tue-Fri 11am-6pm

3 East 89th Street, NY 10128, New York, United States
Open: Tue-Fri 11am-6pm


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Marilyn Minter

LGDR 89 Street, New York

Wed 12 Apr 2023 to Sat 3 Jun 2023

3 East 89th Street, NY 10128 Marilyn Minter

Tue-Fri 11am-6pm

Artist: Marilyn Minter

LGDR presents an exhibition of recent work by Marilyn Minter. Spanning three floors and six gallery spaces, this ambitious show is the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York since her celebrated retrospective Pretty/Dirty at the Brooklyn Museum in 2016–17. It introduces several new bodies of work, including portraiture, and highlights Minter’s daring fifty-year exploration of beauty, representation, autonomy, and desire through a feminist, sex-positive perspective.

A jaw-dropping display of jewel-toned paintings will comingle with sculpture, video, photographs, and prints. Minter approaches some of her now familiar themes with a critical, fresh eye and fearlessly tackles the art-historical canon by reinterpreting traditional genres such as bathers, odalisques, and portraiture.

In a first for Minter’s painting practice, the exhibition debuts portraiture. For centuries, portraits have been the mainstay of the elite. Most portraits that grace the walls of museums, boardrooms, and private homes perpetuate a distorted view of history as remarkable for its absences as for its role in shaping mainstream political and civic discourse. Minter charges into this history, selecting subjects who have made impactful shifts in the cultural landscape. Previously, Minter has worked with models whose physical attributes—from freckles to body hair—celebrate unique forms of beauty and reassess what is often overlooked or erased from contemporary beauty and glamour imagery. In this first group of portraits, Minter hand-picked her subjects to include artists, social commentators, activists, and performers she admires, each of whom have contributed to our cultural conversations around feminism, race, and gender politics. These celebrated icons include Roxane Gay, Monica Lewinsky, Mickalene Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Glenn Ligon, and Lady Gaga.

In addition to paintings and photographs, the exhibition will feature a series of new multimedia sculptures including Thirsty (Drinking Fountain) (2023). Custom-made from stainless steel, these drinking fountains house Minter’s recent video Thirsty (2022) in their cloudlike resin basins where closely cropped lips and tongues manipulate glitter and pearls along with spit, hair, and grime. This is Minter’s second sculpture to date following her 2017 custom-designed sculptural car made by retrofitting an AMC Pacer with surround-sound video of her now iconic Green Pink Caviar (2009). Like its predecessor, Thirsty (Drinking Fountain) marries functionality with design to create a sculpture that is operational, interactive, and otherworldly. Surrounding these sculptures will be works that elaborate on the themes suggested in Thirsty, including the monumental painting Word of Mouth (2020–22) and a new silkscreen print Hush (2023).

Similarly subversive is Minter’s new series Odalisques. Confronting the tropes of Orientalism and the troves of paintings by established old masters such as Ingres, Renoir, and Matisse, among others—Minter presents a contemporary vision of the reclining nude which undercuts and reorients the age-old tradition. In Lizzo Odalisque (2023), the musician wears a bustier and holds her cellphone, suggesting a moment of personal repose interrupted by the viewer—while in Jasmine Odalisque (2021–23), the curator Jasmine Wahi is pictured nude and in heels, making a call. Minter recasts these supine women as powerful and contemporary, reflecting their influence and authority, as they confront the viewer and the history of the genre.

Also featured in the exhibition are her Bather paintings, which Minter considers the catalyst for the Odalisques. Initiated in 2014, the Bathers depict female subjects in the shower from a woman’s perspective. As Minter explains, “Historically, it has been difficult to find images of naked women, painted by women. The Classicists, the Mannerists, and the Expressionists really loved portraying women bathing or grooming, or goddesses caught in the nude. But I wanted to ask the question, ‘what does it look like when a woman paints another woman grooming?’ She’s real, not idealized.” Minter’s Bathers express their own agency, often pictured behind frosty or steamed panes of glass.

To create her seductive paintings, Minter utilizes a combination of modern technology and centuries-old painting techniques. She employs Photoshop as a drawing tool, using a labor- intensive process of manipulating and recombining original photographs to create a new image with as many as 100 layers. The final composition serves as the reference for her paintings. Minter developed her signature painting style over several decades; she applies thin layers of enamel paint on metal panels, building up layers of color over months and sometimes years to achieve a sense of depth and complex surface effects. Her new body of work is as remarkable for its power and mastery of form as it is for its unbridled experimentation.

all images © the gallery and the artist(s)

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