Marilyn Minter at Regen Projects
Through June 23
By Sara Fortson
At Marilyn Minter’s third solo exhibition at Regen Projects, the artist furthers her exploration of what it means to be a woman in the art world. Minter’s photographs and paintings are the stuff of Technicolor soft-core fantasies, and this exhibition is no exception. On view at Regen Projects we are presented with a series of enamel on metal paintings, photographs and a video entitled “My Cuntry, ‘Tis of Thee.” The work has all of Minter’s (literally) steamy, voyeuristic touches and blurred lines between pleasurable and uncomfortable.
Shown behind what looks like foggy windows, women writhe with glossy lips, painted fingernails, and perpetual ecstasy. It’s no secret that Marilyn Minter has been an influential figure in feminist art, and continues to have an admirable career, but what does this work contribute to the current conversation? What do these figures in her paintings and photographs have to tell us that we don’t already know?
Standing in front of a painting of a plush-lipped mouth that seems to be exhaling, men and women alike are mesmerized and stopped cold. The room that houses the video, “My Cuntry…” is intermittently filled to the brim and spilling with wide-eyed viewers that have an aura of concussion and disorientation. It could be easy to dismiss the women in the works, or the works themselves as simple pretty things, but the confrontational nature would suggest otherwise. Though the large paintings feature nudity and attractive faces, they are not meek or wilting. Their eyes are closed, but the figures don’t fade into the background or smile coyly, they own their sexuality and present themselves to the viewer instead of being presented passively. The series of large-scale paintings features a depiction of glossy red lips biting sensuously on a pink-painted fingernail, which if taken at face value is reminiscent of a Warhol-ian fever-dream, but if closely inspected there is a hint of unbleached, unwaxed upper-lip hair. These lips belong to a real woman, who is not interested in the ever present male-gaze.
Far from the feminism of the 60s, Minter is contributing to the expanding definition of feminism with her work at Regen Projects. There is space in the conversation of female sexuality presented by females, and as Marilyn Minter is showing us here, a woman is precisely what she wants to be. It is possible to be sexual and strong, and depictions of female sexuality don’t have to be submissive. Minter’s brand of feminist art is feminism for a new era that is overt in its sexuality.
Marilyn Minter at Regen Projects is on display until June 23, 2018.
Regen Projects is located at 6750 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90038.