I need to say something about the Marilyn Minter c-print in the Foam of the Daze show at Smith-Stewart. I pretty much can't get it out of my head. And when I do, I miss it. There are some other wonderful pieces in this show, Kate Gilmore's and Ylva Ogland's among them, but the main reason you need to see this show is Minter's photo, Unarmed (Pamela Anderson). This is an image that lies at the very core of her work.
When Creative Time did a studio visit with Minter last year she mentioned that she was going to work with a big star who had freckles. She, understandably, didn't want to say who it was. My guess was Lindsay Lohan. I should have known better. It was Pamela Anderson. Huh? Pamela Anderson? Freckles? Who woulda guessed it? Actually, the real question is, "Who would have allowed us to guess it?" Certainly not the entertainment and fashion industry in which Minter practices her day job as a photographer.
Minter shot for the center of the target when she chose her subject here. Anderson is an icon. We've all seen her image thousands of times whether we've wanted to or not, and yet we've never really been able to see her. The freckles, usually considered an imperfection by the industry, are always hidden under a wall of foundation. Minter is on the inside. She knows exactly what's being covered up, whether it be dirty feet or hair above the lip of a supermodel. The perfection being sold to us stops just behind the scrim of makeup, and is never achieved without the help Photoshop. With this photo the artist burns the curtain and pisses on the stage of our conditioning. Kudos to Anderson for understanding what she was getting into, and thanks to both her and Minter for helping us step out of it. Un-fucking-missable.