Despite being on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty is definitely Seagull Salon blog material: Minter is art royalty and an inspiration to the salon. And I was lucky enough to be down in Houston to revel in Minter's three decade exploration in painting, photography, and video.
Minter's early painting studies and student photographs of her Southern recluse mother lounging and primping open Pretty/Dirty...
...before showing Minter fully embrace the glamorous vs. the grotesque themes central to her work.
Minter's work is messy yet slick. She's making jokes but asking questions, too.
Why might these images be seen as disturbing to some? The details one might find to be jarring in her work are actually not if you think about it, as the "grotesque" aspects are usually nothing more than a pimple or messy nail polish application or overgrown pubic hair. The imperfections allowed to exist in these glossy photographs are actually interferences with the mainstream idealized concepts of beauty seen in glossy magazines. What is typically edited out of a photo then becomes vital to Minter's work.
And it's when Minter fully commits to her pretty/dirty aesthetic that the work really comes to life. The colors become more vibrant and glossy, too, which is no surprise: she is letting her creativity run wild with her subject matter. Saying the CAHM show is beautiful would be an understatement. The works hang huge on the wall and are fun to look at because Minter is having fun with her work.
Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty is a fantastic glimpse of a visionary at work. Go see it at the CAMH or Colorado or California---or Brooklyn when it comes to NYC next year!