Marilyn Minter examines the objectification of women's bodies and the concept of desire through her visually striking paintings, photographs and videos that draw from the aesthetics of fashion imagery. Her fame primarily stems from her highly polished, true-to-life paintings which portray various body parts like women's feet, painted lips and eyes, among others. She has a tendency to explore the uncanny in her artwork, wherein an instance of a gold-toothed grin may exude drops of a liquid substance or glittering high heels may appear to be immersed in a metallic fluid. Minter frequently photographs her subjects through damp or foggy glass, highlighting the voyeuristic bond between the artist and their inspiration.
The photobook's positive images showcase limitless sexual frontiers and remind us that pleasure is available at any stage of life and there is no shame and age barrier anymore for us to enjoy sexual liberation. New Yorker writer Naomi Fry's afterword also discusses the feminist implications of Minter's work addressing aging.
Minter created her photo collection to accompany the article Old Flames by journalist Maggie Jones in the 2022 New York Times Magazine. The piece explores the sex lives of individuals aged 70 and above, with insights gathered from older participants. The article shows that people in their 80s, 90s, and 100s are still engaging in sexual activities and find it more satisfying than before. Jones interviewed an 80-year-old engaging in sexual activity with a same-aged partner. Initially hesitant due to her physique, the interviewee adopted the attitude of “Screw it, this is who I am,” which should be a motto for all of us of different ages, gender identity, sexuality and body types and how we should be confident and unapologetic about ourselves and ignore the old fashioned and conservative people who judge us for how we live.
Just like what Fry says in her afterword: “Elder Sex, as the name of the series suggests, depicts not the supple bodies of the predictably young, but, instead, palpably old bodies engaging with one another, readying themselves for the act of love making; and Minter’s conscious, enthusiastic play with a conventionally boner-rousing soft-core vocabulary is not just cheeky, but also significant.”