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Glenn O'Brien on Marilyn Minter

MARILYN MINTER’S exhibition “Pretty/Dirty” debuted at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston during the summer, a long-overdue retrospective for an artist who has achieved stunning mastery in painting—using techniques from the most ancient to the most advanced, from paint on a fingertip to Photoshop—to engage the engines of desire that drive our consumer culture. The show, which was co-organized with the MCA Denver (where it went on view this past month) and curated by Bill Arning and Elissa Auther, follows Minter’s evolution from straight photography to matter-of-fact Photorealism, both banal and provocative, to her current methodology: an extraordinarily complex amalgam of image, translucence, reflection, refraction, and glare. While we often talk of art as multileveled, Minter’s is truly that—a mysterious, interactive layering of planes and surfaces, transparency and opacity. Women’s bodies interact with orgiastic collages of paint, gilt, glitter, grime, water and steam, crystals and bijoux, in a uniquely personal take on glamour and eroticism that deconstructs and challenges the ever more hyperbolic commercial-media sex machine...

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