Marilyn Minter (born in 1948) is an American contemporary photographer/artist. Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and raised in Florida, she moved to New York City in 1976, where she currently works and lives, after earning a master of fine arts degree at Syracuse University.
Marilyn Minter has been a part of the New York art scene since the late 1970's. Her artistic career started with a series of now celebrated photographic studies of her drug-addicted mother while she was still a student in Florida. At the end of the 1980's, she painted herself straight into fevered and often bitter controversy when she began using imagery taken from porn magazines and Pop-derived images that often had hidden sexual references. Her infamy was even more exacerbated in 1990 when she was the first artist to self-produce her own TV advertisement, titled "100 Food Porn", which ran during late-night mainstream television shows.
Starting from the 1990's, she started to gradually refine her style and imagery so that, while still suggesting some kind of sexual undercurrent, her photographs and paintings seem equally to breathe the atmosphere of high fashion and contemporary glamour.
For over three decades, Marilyn Minter has produced lush paintings, photographs, and videos that vividly manifest our culture’s complex and contradictory emotions around the feminine body and around the concept of beauty, by bringing into sharp, critical focus the power of desire. Her photographs and works often include sexuality and erotic imagery. Minter does it by using conventional darkroom processes. She never crops or digitally manipulates her photographs, a feature that is becoming more and more rare. By using this imagery and aesthetic, we are confronted by our own preconceived notions of what exactly constitutes beauty. Minter wants to convey the concept of beauty through non-beautiful and confusing elements, through a dichotomy of imagery and sense. Through this work, one can see how Marilyn Minter both celebrates and criticizes glamour.
The images in Marilyn Minter’s paintings, photographs, and videos are among the most immediately recognizable being made today. They are also among the more politically charged. Minter drags together the clichés of fashion photography and soft pornography in an amalgam that is as troubling as it is alluring. Despite the stylistic changes in a career that now spans more than four decades, Minter's perennial subject matter has been the complex networks of relationships that exist between women’s lives and the world that surrounds them.
Marilyn Minter has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and group exhibitions all over the worlds. In April 2015 Marilyn Minter opened her first major retrospective in the Museum of Contemporary Art Houston. This exhibition contains works that Minter had developed from 1976-2013. Perfectly suited, the exhibit was titled "Pretty/Dirty".