Marilyn Minter’s Upcoming Series Reimagines Modern Feminist Icons From Lizzo to Jasmine Wahi as ‘21st-Century Odalisques’

A handful of the works will be on view at LGDR this April.

Marilyn Minter speaks at The Art of Sexuality Event at Playboy Playhouse on June 23, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Playboy.

Every so often, the art world gives us some amazing artist-muse link-ups: Kehinde Wiley and Barack Obama! Will Cotton and Katy Perry! Toyin Ojih Odutola and Serena Williams! Jean-Paul Goude and Grace Jones!

Another alliance of epic proportions is in the works, as Marilyn Minter is working on a new series of “21st-Century odalisques,” starring a lineup of well-known faces.

“I don’t paint anyone that I don’t admire,” Minter told Artnet News. Right now, she’s working on a large-scale painting of Lizzo to be included in the series, set to also feature curator Jasmine Wahi and other anonymous women. Six of the odalisque paintings will form part of an upcoming exhibition at LGDR, opening on April 12, 2023.

The show will be Minter’s first in New York in six years, encompassing her latest paintings, sculptures, and video works. Also set to be unveiled is a new series of portraits, which the artist describes as depicting her “heroes.” They include famous faces from pop star Lady Gaga to feminist Gloria Steinem to activist Monica Lewinsky, who was the first person Minter reached out to about collaborating.

“I saw the Netflix show, Impeachment, and I immediately got in touch,” said Minter. “I’m painting her portrait now. It’s amazing that she is still alive and thriving with her anti-bullying [campaign]!!”

From what we’ve seen of the odalisque works thus far, they follow Minter’s signature frothy, bubbling, pastel milieu with a sharp focus on their supine subjects. The models vamp with their cellphones in lingerie and high heels, evoking the classical definition of an odalisque (or a naked bather) with a modern twist, likely expanding on the artist’s explorations into female sexuality.

“They take over a year to paint. The Lizzo painting isn’t even started,” Minter explained.

In her December 2022 performance on Saturday Night Live, the singer tipped her hat to the art world, visually referencing Annie Lee’s name-making painting, Blue Monday. The appreciation apparently works both ways: Minter is a fan of Lizzo’s music, and explained that meeting her in person has only amplified her admiration for her.

“She was lovely just as you would expect!” she enthused. “I love working with ‘so-called’ unconventional beauties.”

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