Marilyn Minter’s Close Up

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Ever since I saw the Adbusters (I know) cover of a dirty foot in a jewel encrusted six inch heel, I have been in love with Marilyn Minter’s work. She has built her name on explicit, visually arresting paintings and photographs. Close ups of gritty teeth with excess jewels seem to be less about making a statement and more about Minter having fun creating her photos.

I have always admired her portraits of Pamela Anderson. She takes a woman famous for being sexed up and doesn’t diminished her obvious sex appeal, but makes it her own. The result is a different kind of photograph of Anderson. She is fresh faced, personal, beautiful but perhaps less “attractive,” even though her her white tank is soaked in sweat and glitter. This is the perfect example of how Minter manages to touch on many different elements in art and commercialism. By not blending them, but noticing them, she creates something new.

Marilyn Minter Marilyn Minter

I admire that her work is intentional. Each element of her photographs are harmonized in the tone she works with. Minter uses her medium to her advantage; her extreme close ups always have just a sliver of focus, and emit an energy that is vicious and almost alienating.

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In both her video work and photographs, she uses an extreme high definition macro lens. Like her many of her photographs, my favorite, green pink caviar, is sexually expressive. What I find most interesting about Minter is that she doesn’t use sexuality in her work as shock value. You get the feeling it is supposed to be there. The other reason i love her is that her work is so visually pleasing, which in an age of modern conceptual art, can sometimes be the first thing that goes. Here, Minter goes visual first, then lets meaning come after. Perhaps she is commenting on the high culture of femininity, pairing dirty feat with jewel encrusted shoes, mouths crunching chains of diamonds. There is wrath there, or the seven deadly sins, but definitely notjust a pose for a fashion model.



Marilyn Minter
Minter came on to the art scene in 1970. In the end of the 80s, she hit controversy by using imagery directly lifted from porn magazines. The 1990s say her “gradually refining her style” to the images we see here now, where they still suggest pornographic sexuality
When asked, “Are you celebrating glamour, or criticizing it?” Minter replied,

“Both. Because I think it’s a complex emotion when you look at glamorous pictures. I can’t say that everybody gets pleasure out of it, but I do, and allot of people I know get a lot of pleasure out of looking at the most glamorous pictures. But you’re constantly aware that you’re never going to look that good. So there are two feelings there, not just one, and I’m just trying to mirror that, to make a picture of what that feels like.”

Green Pink Caviar was on display at MOMA for over a year and was also shown in Times Square and billboards in LA. Yummy.


Solo exhibitions: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005, the Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, OH in 2009, La Conservera, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Ceutí/Murcia, Spain in 2009, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH in 2010 and the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Germany in 2011.

Words of Wisdom from Diablo Cody

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Diablo Cody, stripper turned screenwriter, word genius.  She is known for her unique dialogue which is either the center piece and driving force of the film (Juno) or so seamlessly written that it gives the actors a chance to be authentic and in the moment, (United States of Tara). Other writing credits include Jennifer’s Body, and one of my favorites, Young Adult.

Young Adult especially displays what Cody does best: write something so original, but so realistic you are left thinking, why didn’t I think of that? 

Here are some Diablo Cody quotes to share at the thanksgiving table:

There’s something about a roller coaster that triggers strong feelings, maybe because most of us associate them with childhood. They’re inherently cinematic; the very shape of a coaster, all hills and valleys and sickening helices, evokes a human emotional response.

I don’t think coolness used to be such a commodity among adults. And now it is.

Hollywood is a perpetual summerland, a temperate, godless yaw where the very word ‘season’ has been co-opted by television executives. There are few harbingers of winter here.

I’ve been told that I’m incompetent, socially retarded, maladjusted. I still know that I couldn’t function in reality. Los Angeles is a good place for me.

Happy Thanksgiving! xX

Reed Morano’s Not So Average Instagram

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No, these are not stills for an upcoming critically acclaimed drama about the poignancy of boyhood in dreamy San Francisco. These are the gorgeous photos of Reed Morano’s boys on her instagram.

Morano is a cinematographer whose work has been praised over and over. Her work is so personable that even on a meek social media platform the damage she can do with a camera is evident. Her use of space and color regularly leaves one breathless, and I’m not the first to notice. Reed received high praise for the indie success Little Birds, (2011) the cinematography of which was the only thing in the film  equal to the electric Juno Temple:

“The footage itself is so gorgeous…Reed Morano’s lensing radiates texture and warmth, and though he doesn’t overdo it, [director Elgin] James can hardly resist the occasional scenic insert shot…a strategy that dates back at least as far as Terrence Malick’s Badlands, an early prototype in the same small-town-girls-gone-bad genre…” Variety.

Reed Morano Cinematographer

Women cinematographers, for many reasons, (hint: none of them have to do with talent) are hard to come by. In 2012, only 2% of the 250 highest grossing films were shot by female DPs. Talk about male gaze-this means that 98% of the time we are literally seeing culture through a man’s eye. While this might not seem like an important distinction to some, it makes a great deal of difference. This means that almost everything we see in mainstream movie theaters is from a male perspective. This sometimes subtle differentiation can have extreme, butterfly effect-like consequences.

To up the ante, when Frozen River began to take off, Morano was four months pregnant. “So when these agents and directors wanted to meet me, I was coming in pregnant and people didn’t really take me seriously. They thought “this woman is not going to shoot another movie again. She’s going to become a mom and that’s what happens.”(1) 

Having just wrapped the first season of HBO’s Looking, Morano also has some upcoming films: The Skeleton Twins with Kristen Wiig, and And So It Goes, a new film by Rob Reiner.

Check out her latest,  Kill Your Darlings

Sofia Coppola, Queen of Aesthetics

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A brief overview of the excellent article in Interview Magazine.

Sofia Coppola sits down with artist Richard Prince for interview magazine. Prince’s artwork and photography is, in many ways, similar to Coppola’s visual-heavy films.

Some of the topics I found interesting that they covered was “borrowing art.”When do you ask for permission? Is everything up for grabs when concerning the human condition?

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. If you ask someone if you can record a conversation, is there a date that you can’t use it anymore? A context? Surely, there is a moral obligation to the actor (or non actor). In all forms of collaborative art, the the trust between a director and an actor (or photographer and model, ect) is sacred and held deeply important.

In the interview, Coppola also spoke of her filmmaker’s aesthetic. Granted, this next but will be biased: she has a particular knack for completely pulling off a mood or tone in her films. Story, structure and a set so in tune with each other, they mush together like saltwater taffy, creating a film of candy.

In her film The Bling Ring, her aesthetic talent at first seems to be jeopardized. I think it is somewhat of a natural progression. As Coppola ages, so do her tastes. Ironically, her tastes aged into a flashy, over saturated pop world of tweens- but still, one should have the privilege to grow as an artist as they change as a person.

She has always been prized in her steadfast vision, her unwillingness to live up to expectations besides the ones she sets for herself, despite what thecritics say.

Again she proves her integrity and her righteous place as one of the most important women in film.

You can read the full article here:

Celeste and Jesse Forever: Gender Teamwork

The marketers of Celeste and Jesse Forever had a difficult job on their hands. The task: selling a film that simultaneously opposes the romantic comedy formula, while also existing as a thoroughly accurate description of the genre. Celeste and Jesse are a mid-adult, kinda cool L.A. couple who are dealing with reality of their separation-which frankly, isn’t that harsh. For a soon-to-be divorced couple, they still hang out. All the time.

     C & J is love poem to the complexities of life. It acknowledges the hilarity in the painful steps of beginnings and endings. The characters are comprised of carefully crafted unique traits. As a result, writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormic’s solemn swear to tell the truth remains consistent throughout the film.

Much of the film’s uniqueness is attributed to the duality of their relationship. For McCormic, it was evident right from their working process:

“This was a total two-hander on every level. I sort of have a feminine side to me, and she sort of has a masculine side to her, so I felt like even in writing Jesse and Celeste it was 50/50, because I feel comfortable writing girls and I think she feels comfortable writing boys. It was very even.” (1)

Jones especially wanted to create a story that was different. C&J shows a side of women that are not often represented in mainstream romantic comedies: a woman with deep flaws. Not flaws that make the woman look cute, deep, or beautifully misunderstood, but a legitimate, gut-wrenching example of unattractiveness.

Think passing out on a pool float at 4:00 pm, at your best friend’s engagement party, with mayo smeared across your chin.

Jones, who plays Celeste in the film, says, “I think with Celeste, we wanted her descent to be ugly. I feel like a lot of times in romantic comedies, they’re losing their mind but still totally adorable.” (1) She goes on to tell The New York Times,

“Women have been interesting forever. I’ve had so many women come up to me and say they were being fully represented, that they’re complex, and it’s O.K. to be complex, and it’s O.K. to be emotional one moment and really pragmatic the next. We’re going through a major evolution, and men haven’t had the same evolution.” (2)

I think the film is saying many things, but they may not all be apparent on first viewing. It certainly entertains the thought that you might not be meant to be with your soulmate. Or maybe you are meant to be, but life just moves on or gets in the way.

Although, neither seem to be the point here. C&J is about the inevitable, about life moving forward. It is about no matter how extreme anything ever was, it will change, and good and bad things will replace it. Great things, if you let it.The film is a beautiful portrayal of the ever normal; the mundane in the biggest events of your life, and the universal in the smallest. That time you had a crying fight in the street. Or the time you desperately needed a hug and someone in a kid’s costume forced one upon you.

      Celeste and Jesse Forever is intelligent and disarming, heartaching and heartwarming. While it is hard to uncover what elements came from which writer, it is undeniable that this man/woman team created a universal story from unusual means.