Casey Fatchett

Frieze New York

Marilyn Minter's top Frieze New York picks

The New York-based artist Marilyn Minter, unapologetically political, was at the VIP preview of Frieze New York to spread the message—and hawk the artistic merchandise—of the Political Action Committee (PAC) Downtown for Democracy, which was founded by creatives in 2003 and is raising money to support progressive candidates in the 2018 US midterm elections. The artist drew the crowds, which included both friends and starstruck visitors; many requested selfies, with one young man asking in awe: “Are you Marilyn Minter?” Keeping with the theme, she sought out “political” pieces when picking her favourite works at the fair.

The New York-based artist Marilyn Minter, unapologetically political, was at the VIP preview of Frieze New York to spread the message—and hawk the artistic merchandise—of the Political Action Committee (PAC) Downtown for Democracy, which was founded by creatives in 2003 and is raising money to support progressive candidates in the 2018 US midterm elections. “We have Neo-Nazis in the White House, and you’re trying to tell me that Dana Schutz is the enemy?” Minter says. “Put that energy into Downtown for Democracy. Join Planned Parenthood. Go volunteer for Swing Left instead of shooting another Leftie.” The artist drew the crowds, which included both friends and starstruck visitors; many requested selfies, with one young man asking in awe: “Are you Marilyn Minter?” Keeping with the theme, she sought out “political” pieces when picking her favourite works at the fair.

Lorna Simpson, Kid Glove (1989) at 94 Salon

Lorna Simpson, Kid Glove (1989) at Salon 94: Lorna Simpson refers to the Aids crisis in this group of five large, colour Polaroids; each one is accompanied by a plastic plaque carrying a two-word phrase beginning with “social” (such as “social grace” and “social order”), and white gloves remind the viewer of those used to protect against disease. “I love it so much,” Minter says. “[Simpson] really should be considered one of the Pictures Generation—it’s a crime that she’s not.”

Arthur Jafa, HA Crow 20E (2018) at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise: This 8ft-tall work is one of six on the gallery’s stand from Arthur Jafa’s HA Crow series. The installation comprises grids of photographs ranging from 19th-century images of freed slaves to Instagram selfies, and Minter points out an area featuring a shot of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Marilyn Monroe. The Los Angeles-based artist and film-maker caught Minter’s eye with his 2016 video Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death, which is set to music by Kanye West. “I’ve only really seen five great video pieces—perhaps ten—and that’s one of them,” she says.

Arthur Jafa, HA Crow 20E (2018) at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise: This 8ft-tall work is one of six on the gallery’s stand from Arthur Jafa’s HA Crow series. The installation comprises grids of photographs ranging from 19th-century images of freed slaves to Instagram selfies, and Minter points out an area featuring a shot of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Marilyn Monroe. The Los Angeles-based artist and film-maker caught Minter’s eye with his 2016 video Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death, which is set to music by Kanye West. “I’ve only really seen five great video pieces—perhaps ten—and that’s one of them,” she says.

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (IF YOU WANT A PICTURE) (2017) at Sprüth Magers: Barbara Kruger’s large print on vinyl quotes a line from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” The Los Angeles- and New York-based conceptual artist also used the quote in a “wrap room” installation in Sprüth Magers’s Berlin space last autumn. “That’s how it feels—Orwellian,” Minter says of the current political climate. “That’s why we’re doing [Downtown for Democracy]. That’s the future if we don’t.”

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (IF YOU WANT A PICTURE) (2017) at Sprüth Magers: Barbara Kruger’s large print on vinyl quotes a line from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” The Los Angeles- and New York-based conceptual artist also used the quote in a “wrap room” installation in Sprüth Magers’s Berlin space last autumn. “That’s how it feels—Orwellian,” Minter says of the current political climate. “That’s why we’re doing [Downtown for Democracy]. That’s the future if we don’t.”

Sue Williams, Hooray (2018) at 303 Gallery: Minter is an avowed fan of Sue Williams’s work, calling the New York-based artist a “genius”. This piece takes on the serious topic of American militarism and politics, but is also funny. “There’s an almost-flag, a woman with boobs—it’s all political,” Minter says, also pointing out a man on the toilet with a Trumpian air. “Everything [Williams] does is political, even though it looks like abstraction,” says Minter, who is also drawn to an earlier work on the stand, The Pink Object (2003), an oil and acrylic on canvas featuring brightly coloured loops.

Sue Williams, Hooray (2018) at 303 Gallery: Minter is an avowed fan of Sue Williams’s work, calling the New York-based artist a “genius”. This piece takes on the serious topic of American militarism and politics, but is also funny. “There’s an almost-flag, a woman with boobs—it’s all political,” Minter says, also pointing out a man on the toilet with a Trumpian air. “Everything [Williams] does is political, even though it looks like abstraction,” says Minter, who is also drawn to an earlier work on the stand, The Pink Object (2003), an oil and acrylic on canvas featuring brightly coloured loops.

Print by Judith Bernstein, part of White Columns’ six-work Print Portfolio (2018) at White Columns: Minter’s attraction to this work, a seething portrayal of Donald Trump in bold black strokes, is self-explanatory (she is selling editions of a plaque depicting the US president with a quote from his infamous Access Hollywood tape in aid of Downtown for Democracy). The New York-based artist Judith Bernstein’s work is one of six prints in a 100-edition portfolio of political works by artists such as Collier Schorr and Trisha Donnelly. “Judith Bernstein doesn’t pull any punches, and I adore her for it,” Minter says. “She’s finally getting her due.”

Print by Judith Bernstein, part of White Columns’ six-work Print Portfolio (2018) at White Columns: Minter’s attraction to this work, a seething portrayal of Donald Trump in bold black strokes, is self-explanatory (she is selling her own editions of a plaque depicting the US president with a quote from his infamous Access Hollywood tape in aid of Downtown for Democracy). The New York-based artist Judith Bernstein’s work is one of six prints in a 100-edition portfolio of political works by artists such as Collier Schorr and Trisha Donnelly. “Judith Bernstein doesn’t pull any punches, and I adore her for it,” Minter says. “She’s finally getting her due.”

Jack Pierson, Help Others (2017) at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac: Referring to the American dream, this is a ready-made work of letters in wood and metal from old movie marquees and commercial signs that the New York-based artist Jack Pierson found across the US. “Help others: it’s much more rewarding than being self-centred all the time,” Minter says, drawn in by the message. “And it’s really hard for artists,” she adds, with a laugh.

Jack Pierson, Help Others (2017) at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac: Referring to the American dream, this is a ready-made work of letters in wood and metal from old movie marquees and commercial signs that the New York-based artist Jack Pierson found across the US. “Help others: it’s much more rewarding than being self-centred all the time,” Minter says, drawn in by the message. “And it’s really hard for artists,” she adds, with a laugh.

Tracey Emin, You destroyed my mind— You made me Feel like This (2018) at Xavier Hufkens: The gallery’s solo presentation of Tracey Emin’s paintings, sculptures and neons includes several of the UK artist’s abstracted female nudes, all of which Minter liked—but she chose this work in acrylic and pencil on canvas “because of the black mask”. What does she like about Emin’s work? “She’s raw and honest and doesn’t pull her punches,” she says. “She makes me think of something a little bit disturbing—or a lot disturbing.”

Tracey Emin, You destroyed my mind— You made me Feel like This (2018) at Xavier Hufkens: The gallery’s solo presentation of Tracey Emin’s paintings, sculptures and neons includes several of the UK artist’s abstracted female nudes, all of which Minter liked—but she chose this work in acrylic and pencil on canvas “because of the black mask”. What does she like about Emin’s work? “She’s raw and honest and doesn’t pull her punches,” she says. “She makes me think of something a little bit disturbing—or a lot disturbing.”

Appeared in Fair Dailies, Frieze New York 2018