Marilyn Minter Gets Pretty Dirty (FILM)

Marilyn Minter at the OCMA opening. Photo by EMS.

The Orange County Museum of Art offers the only West Coast presentation of Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty. April 2 - July 10, 2016

I had the opportunity to interview New York artist, Marilyn Minter, for my film on the exhibition held at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) as part of my continuing Take 1 Art Series. I spent a few hours outside of the public opening asking her a few questions for the film that spanned the length of the exhibition. The fifteen minute film documents the various rooms and historical themes Minter explored and executed throughout her career.

The film can be seen here:

OCMA describes the exhibit as "For more than three decades Marilyn Minter has produced lush paintings, photographs, and videos that vividly manifest our culture's complex and contradictory emotions around the female body and beauty. Her unique works--from the oversized paintings of makeup-laden lips and eyes to soiled designer shoes--bring into sharp, critical focus the power of desire. As an artist Minter has always made seductive visual statements that demand our attention while never shirking her equally crucial roles as provocateur, critic, and humorist. Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty features 40 paintings made between 1976 and 2013, several video works and photographs. The exhibition is on view through July 10, 2016.

The night of the opening at OCMA. Photo by EMS.

Marilyn and her husband, Bill Miller, at OCMA. Photo by EMS.

"The power of Minter's work is that it always resonates on two levels: surface and depth. She is keenly aware of the power of the image to entice and titillate, but she never lets us stop with just those reactions," states OCMA Director and CEO Todd Smith. "She always makes us dig deeper into the social and personal underpinnings of why we experience the luscious imagery the way we do." From the beginning of her career, Minter has been embroiled in controversies over the relationship of her art to feminism, fashion, and celebrity. As an artist interested in these vexed cultural intersections has grown, her work has risked looking as effortless as a mirror held up to the most supercilious aspects of today's "bling" lifestyle. Yet Minter's work is not merely a mirror of our culture. This exhibition provides, for the first time, a critical evaluation of her practice as an astute interpretation of our deepest impulses, compulsions, and fantasies."

Marilyn Minter on the day of her interview. Photo by EMS.

Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty is co-organized by the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. The exhibition is co-curated by Bill Arning, Director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Elissa Auther, Windgate Research Curator, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and the Bard Graduate Center.

The exhibition is supported by generous grants from Gregory R. Miller & Co., Amy and John Phelan, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn/Salon 94, and Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch

The OCMA presentation is supported by Robin and Steve Kalota and Diane Stovall.

The exhibition tour is Contemporary Arts Museum Houston April 18 - August 2, 2015; MCA Denver September 18, 2015 - January 31, 2016; Orange County Museum of Art, CA, May 15 - August 28, 2016; and the Brooklyn Museum, November 4, 2016 - April 2, 2017.

OCMA INFORMATION | Hours and Admission prices changed February 2015
Wednesday - Sunday, 11 am - 5 pm; with extended hours Friday, 11 am - 8 pm. Admission: Adults $10, seniors and students $7.50, children 12 and under are free. Fridays are free to the public. Orange County Museum of Art is located at 850 San Clemente Drive in Newport Beach, CA. For additional information, call 949.759.1122 or visit

This article is part of an ongoing photojournalism survey of art exhibition openings titled EMS N(art)rative. Through my lens I document a photographic essay or visual "N(art)rative" that captures the happenings, personalities, collectors, gallerists, artists and the art itself; all elements that form the richly varied and textured fabric of the SoCal art world. This reconnaissance offers a unique view for serious art world players to obtain news and information on the current pulse of what's in the now, yet capturing timeless indelible images for posterity and legacy. Here is EMS N(art)rative Thirty-Nine.

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