With a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum that’s been attracting rave reviews for months, Marilyn Minter and her always out-there art have been having something of another moment of late. And then this week, her latest endeavor, a giant flag with the word “RESIST” for Creative Time’s unapologetically political Pledges of Allegiance project, was removed from the public eye in less than a day. It was not the first time Minter has faced censorship, but certainly one of the murkiest, with explanations ranging from a lack of permits to the curious coincidence that Donald Trump also happened to be in town. Still, Minter is soldiering on; here, she talks protest art, along with her day-to-day life as an artist, in her culture diet.
What was your original inspiration for a protest flag when Creative Time approached you?
Well, I was already making resistance things just for fun or to put on social media, no reason at all. I was spraying the words “resist” and “unite” onto frosted glass, and then shooting what happened with the drips. Some of them are for Dear Ivanka, which is actually a branch of HALT Action Group—we’ve been protesting since the second week after the election.
What have been some of your favorite signs you’ve seen since then?
I like what Paul Chan’s doing. I like my Trump plaque and my Trump stamp. I’m selling the plaque to raise money for HALT so we can do more wheat-pasting. This is about information, and I think these are great for protests. I love Richard Prince’s video that he made of this giant picture of Trump getting run over on the street, and I love that he disowned the portrait he did of Ivanka. Everybody that’s making anything right now, really, is doing something great. But when it comes to information, nobody tops Barbara Kruger, and I love what Jenny Holzer made in the ’80s.
What’s the first thing you read in the morning?
Two things: the New York Times and Talking Points Memo.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
The biography of Jackson Pollock, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory Smith. It’s okay. [Laughs.] There’s some really interesting things in there, like would you have ever known that Philip Guston and Jackson Pollock went to high school together? They were in the art club. Things like that are fascinating. He was always just a major f—-up—a really vicious alcoholic who hated women. I’m fascinated by biographies.
What TV shows have been keeping you up at night?
I think the best show on TV in the past year is Atlanta. It’s just so smart and so fresh. I love Catastrophe. That’s pretty much it. I haven’t watched regular TV in years—I don’t even know if we have one anymore, I just do it on the computer. We have Amazon Fire and Alexa.
What’s the last movie you saw in theaters?
I go to the movies all the time—easily once a week. I saw Manifesto last night at Tribeca Film Forum. Cate Blanchett’s a brilliant actress.
What’s the last piece of art you bought?
Besides your own show at the Brooklyn Museum, what’s the last museum exhibition that you loved?
There are two, really, that are just remarkable. Louise Lawler at MoMA blew the back of my head off. I can’t wait to go see it again. And “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85” at the Brooklyn Museum. They opened a week apart, and they’re both so, so good.
What upcoming release are you most excited about?
I really like Childish Gambino. That came out a while ago, but I just love him. I’ve been playing that over and over. I was buying him early on because his producer made the music for one of my videos.
What’s the last song you had on repeat?
Well, Childish Gambino, Soffi Tucker, and “A Seat at the Table” by Solange. I always play music when I’m shooting, but when I’m painting, I play horrible podcasts on politics. That’s why I always know what’s going. [Laughs.] It’s a horrible, horrible thing. By the way, my main assistant just started a band [that sings] anger lyrics against Trump—they’re all guys in their forties. [Laughs.] He’s such an activist.
What are your favorite podcasts?
2 Dope Queens is by far my favorite. I walk down the street and people look at me like I’m insane because I’m laughing so hard. And I like Pod Save America. I only listen to them if it’s something I don’t know about, because they’re a day late, but they explain things to me. And I love Bill Maher.
What was the last concert you went to?
Was it Depeche Mode? It’s been a while. I’m really old, you know, but I see my friends play all the time. I’m always the oldest one there. I’m so used to it. I’m not trying to be a young person—I’m still curious, what can I say? My husband and I see Jenny Muldaur, who’s a friend who used to be a backup singer for David Byrne, whenever she performs. And we saw Molly Ringwald at the FLAG [Art Foundation].
What are your favorite social media accounts to follow?
Nobody else does, but I like Twitter. It’s like reading the news. I do Instagram all the time but I don’t follow anybody—I just look at what the algorithm sends me, mainly because it’s a rabbit hole, and I won’t get anything done. I travel a lot, so I’m always on the train, and I always do social media on there.
Did Ivanka Trump really unfollow you on Instagram after Dear Ivanka?
She did. Someone had to tell me, though, because I wouldn’t know. You know, we’re not really thinking that she’s paying attention to us. Dear Ivanka is very much a satire. But we have a lot planned. She’s got a book coming out, Women Who Work, which I think is basically women who work who are rich—I wouldn’t read it, but the people that write Dear Ivanka are mostly psychologists, and they actually read it. It’s a real collective of all different walks of life: there’s a hacker, a guy who started Occupy Wall Street, a singer, gallery dealers, psychiatrists, people that work in advertising, lots of artists, lots of old Act Up and just politically active people—just sort of culture vultures, I don’t know what else to call it, with Alison Gingeras as our fearless leader.
What are some of its next moves that you’re involved in?
I’m selling my Trump plaques, but I’m afraid to do social media about them because I only have a few, and we’re already selling them like crazy out of the studio. We’re also making an “anger management” section of the store at the Brooklyn Museum, and maybe the New Museum, where we’ll sell the plaques, along with works by all the artists right now who are resisting. HALT needs money to do things like wheat-pasting and press in other cities in red states, like Indianapolis. Right now, we’re just reaching to the converted.
Last thing: what’s the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Try to read my book—I’m always reading something.
See Miley Cyrus Get Steamy for Planned Parenthood in Marilyn Minter’s Studio: