Artist Marilyn Minter On Porn, Perfection, And Designer Perfume

Last night artist Marilyn Minter held a Q&A at NYC's Soho House to discuss her new book, Marilyn Minter (left), which is a retrospective of her career that spans nearly four decades. The painter/photographer — whose work in the '80s and early '90s, based on pornographic imagery, earned her the "bad feminist" stamp from the second wavers, and made her a trailblazer for the pro-sex third wavers — discussed the advertising industry and her disdain for airbrushing. Minter recently had some not-so-great experience with the former. She shot an ad campaign for Tom Ford's line of fragrances, which featured the sweat-drenched designer himself, but, at the eleventh hour, the powers that be ditched Minter's photos and hired Terry Richardson to photograph the product placed between a pair of fake tits and on a woman's crotch. While she's certainly not a stranger to provocative imagery, Minter said she has no interest in PhotoShopping it into perfection, opining, "Perfection is a flaw." After the jump, her original Tom Ford ad, photos of her mom, and a blow job painting.

Artist Marilyn Minter On Porn, Perfection, And Designer Perfume


Above is the original ad for Tom Ford's fragrance. And we all know what the Terry Richardson ads looked like.

One of my favorite paintings of Minter's is from her 1989 series of pornographic imagery. I love how the dripping paint looks like cum.

Artist Marilyn Minter On Porn, Perfection, And Designer Perfume

She was sort of attacked by anti-porn feminists at the time, accused of perpetuating the objectification of women. In her book she says that she approached these pieces by asking herself:

What images have women never touched? What images have women never really explored? And does it change the meaning of these images if they are explored by women and not men? I was trying to explore areas that hadn't been explored and I didn't have any kind of fully formed motivation, which was my downfall. I was just asking questions, but everybody wanted me to come with the answers. I learned that there are no answers when it comes to talking about sexuality. It will spit in your eye; you cannot program it; you can't make rules about it. It is very messy and very untidy.
In the early '90s, Minter was sought out by the dissenting voice: a bunch of pro-sex feminists. The women formed a group that met monthly, and they would read Susie Bright, watch pornos, and go see Annie Sprinkle perform. For Minter, the meetings were an "intellectual discussion as well as a psychotherapeutic support group" for women interested in exploring something that both the patriarchy and traditional feminism told them they shouldn't.

But one of the best aspects of her book is the inclusion of the seminal "Coral Ridge Towers," a series of haunting black and white photos of her drug-addicted mother, who rarely left her bedroom. Minter took the photos in 1969 for a class while an undergrad at the University of Florida, but never allowed them to be seen until 1996.

Artist Marilyn Minter On Porn, Perfection, And Designer Perfume

Artist Marilyn Minter On Porn, Perfection, And Designer Perfume