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Q&A: Artist and provocateur Marilyn Minter dishes on Madonna, makeup and ruining a pair of $15,000 shoes

October 22, 2009 |  2:46 pm

UNARMED- pam anderson photo You might not be familiar with artist Marilyn Minter, but her artwork is on display at the most public of galleries: Two Sunset Strip big screens and the lobbies of both local Standard hotels, plus a tote bag from high-end chain Intermix to mark National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Minter’s “Green Pink Caviar" video is screening on the Key Club billboard and another across from the Andaz Hotel as part of a public art project, sponsored by ForYourArt and Regen Projects gallery. Madonna had used the 8-minute vid in her “Sticky and Sweet” tour.

Minter also designed a tote that came out this month for New York-based Intermix, which has a boutique on Robertson Boulevard. A percentage of net proceeds from bag sales benefit Bright Pink, a nonprofit breast cancer awareness campaign targeting young women.

As you might have surmised by the bag collaboration, Minter, 61, flits around with fashion. She shoots regularly for Allure and has photographed ads for M.A.C. (a commission resulted in “Green Pink Caviar”) and Tom Ford Menswear. But Minter's oeuvre resembles more of a deranged take on fashion photography by portraying designer heels caked with grime or makeup so over-applied that the result is grotesque.

This week, Intermix, Regen Projects owner Shaun Caley-Regen, ForYourArt's Bettina Korek and designer Kimberly Ovitz hosted a premier screening of “Green Pink Caviar," which will play on both Sunset Boulevard billboards in West Hollywood through Dec. 31, feted by guests such as Band of Outsiders' Scott Sternberg and LD Tuttle's Tiffany Tuttle, Magda Berliner and actress Kristin Minter (Marilyn's niece). 

We spoke to Minter about her new artwork, the Intermix bag collaboration and working with Madonna and Tom Ford, after the jump.

TF.MENSWEAR.FINAL.LO All the Rage: How did you end up shooting Pamela Anderson for your new exhibition?

Marilyn Minter: I took the makeup off of her and she looked really beautiful. I photographed her in the shower with all her makeup gone and her freckles showing.

I like working with women who have power like Pam and Madonna.

How did Madonna discover the "Green Pink Caviar" video?

She contacted me through Regen Projects gallery. I met her after the tour was over. She was really, really nice and extremely vulnerable. She’s owned my work for years. She’s always been a fan.

When did you work with Tom Ford?

When he was launching his clothing in fall 2007 -- very high-end luxury clothes. I shot him in a fur coat blowing bubble gum. I had a model with $15,000 shoes stepping through mud puddles. 

What are the most expensive clothes you’ve ruined in a shoot?

Probably the Tom Ford shoes. They were $15,000 men's loafers.

I ruined Dior shoes that were donated. But they weren’t $15,000 more like $1,500.

How did you get involved in designing the Intermix tote?

That was for breast cancer awareness. Intermix is selling that bag to raise money. I have really young friends who are getting breast cancer. I’ve never designed clothes in my life.

Do you shop at Intermix?

I’m not a shopper, I hate to shop -- it’s so time-consuming. Classic clothes -- Marni -- works for me.

MarilynMi_Jorda_58708692_400 You incorporate a lot of cosmetics in your artwork?

I use a lot of it on my models but I never wear any except lipstick. When you age, the more makeup you wear the worse you look [laughs].

M.A.C. hired me to shoot glitter eye makeup; it was a job with my name on it.

What lipstick do you wear?

“Dubonnet” by M.A.C.

-- Max Padilla

Photos, from top: Pamela Anderson unadorned in "Unarmed," 2007; Tom Ford advertisement; Marilyn Minter, left, and niece Kristin Minter at Andaz Hotel premier party. Credits, from top: Marilyn Minter / Salon 94, New York; Minter; Jordan Strauss / WireImage.com

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