What Does Goo Mean to You?

Still from Green Pink Caviar, by Marilyn Minter.Photo: Courtesy of the Artist and Salon 94

The film still above comes from Green Pink Caviar, a five-minute video by the artist Marilyn Minter that’s on view (along with short films by Patty Chang and Kate Gilmore) on MTV’s HD billboard at 44th Street in Times Square through April 30. (Starting April 24, a 60-second trailer will also run before midnight film showings at Landmark’s Sunshine theater.) New York asked Times Square passersby for their interpretations—and then spoke with the artist herself.

As seen in Times Square, sponsored by Creative Time.Photo: Bill Miller

The Reactions
“This is inappropriate and uncouth. But I can’t stop looking at it, even though it’s not appealing.”

“Is it an ad for gum? It said ‘chewing.’ ”

“I don’t care about any of the fucking shit around it—I like that there’s art in Times Square and want to see more.”

“It’s difficult to see when there’s so much around it.”

KID, POINTING: “What the fuck is that?”
MOM, ANGRILY: “It’s lips.”

“This is sick and horny.”

“In this context it’s grating, almost too shocking. Maybe people’s reactions are part of the art.”

Minter responds: We were screwing around in my studio, photographing girls spitting out candy on a piece of glass to get images for paintings—but when we looked underneath, we all thought, “Cool!” Since I feed off the fashion world like a parasite—I use their makeup artists, their stylists, even their catering services—I waited for my next commercial assignment so I could slip my project in between takes. We filmed this during a M.A.C-makeup shoot.

I called up Ford and said, “Gimme a model with a really long tongue and nice, full lips.” They sent me Louisa Taadou. For the candy, I bought a lot of colorful cake decorations: Here, I used yellow méringue filling mixed with blue food coloring. Austin Lynn Austin filmed from underneath the glass with a high-def camera, and Louisa held her breath to avoid fogging it up. I made sure you couldn’t see the eyes, because as soon as you see the eyes, it’s a different narrative.

I don’t want to sound disingenuous, but to me it’s not sexy—it’s gorgeous. It’s about hunger and insatiability, a trailer without a movie behind it, an ad only for itself.

What Does Goo Mean to You?