Nan Goldin, 2009
September 12, 1953 |
Washington D.C. United States
|Works||The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, 1986|
|Awards||Hasselblad Award, 2007|
Life and work
Goldin was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in the Boston, Massachusetts suburb of Lexington, to middle class Jewish parents whose ideas, moderately liberal and progressive, were put to the test when on April 12, 1965 their eldest daughter Barbara Holly, at the age of eighteen, committed suicide. Goldin’s father worked in broadcasting, and served as the chief economist for the Federal Communications Commission. After attending the nearby Lexington High School, she enrolled at the Satya Community School in Lincoln, where a teacher introduced her to the camera in 1968. Goldin was then fifteen years old. Her first solo show, held in Boston in 1973, was based on her photographic journeys among the city's gay and transsexual communities, to which she had been introduced by her friend David Armstrong. Goldin graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University in 1977/1978, where she had worked mostly with Cibachrome prints.
Following graduation, Goldin moved to New York City. She began documenting the post-punk new-wave music scene, along with the city's vibrant, post-Stonewall gay subculture of the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was drawn especially to the Bowery's hard-drug subculture; these photographs, taken between 1979 and 1986, form her famous work The Ballad of Sexual Dependency — a title taken from a song in Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera. These snapshot aesthetic images depict drug use, violent, aggressive couples and autobiographical moments. Most of her Ballad subjects were dead by the 1990s, lost either to drug overdose or AIDS; this tally included close friends and often-photographed subjects Greer Lankton and Cookie Mueller. In 2003, The New York Times nodded to the work's impact, explaining Goldin had "forged a genre, with photography as influential as any in the last twenty years." In addition to Ballad, she combined her Bowery pictures in two other series: "I'll Be Your Mirror" (from a song on The Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground & Nico album) and "All By Myself."
Goldin's work is most often presented in the form of a slideshow, and has been shown at film festivals; her most famous being a 45 minute show in which 800 pictures are displayed. The main themes of her early pictures are love, gender, domesticity, and sexuality; these frames are usually shot with available light. She has affectionately documented women looking in mirrors, girls in bathrooms and barrooms, drag queens, sexual acts, and the culture of obsession and dependency. The images are viewed like a private journal made public.
Goldin's work since 1995 has included a wide array of subject matter: collaborative book projects with famed Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki; New York City skylines; uncanny landscapes (notably of people in water); her lover, Siobhan; and babies, parenthood and family life.
Goldin lives in New York and Paris—one reason the French Pompidou Centre mounted a major retrospective of her work in 2002. Her hand was injured in a fall in 2002, and she currently retains less ability to turn it than in the past.
In 2006, her exhibition, Chasing a Ghost, opened in New York. It was the first installation by her to include moving pictures, a fully narrative score, and voiceover, and included the disturbing three-screen slide and video presentation Sisters, Saints, & Sybils. The work involved her sister Barbara's suicide and how she coped through production of numerous images and narratives. Her works are developing more and more into cinemaesque features, exemplifying her graviation towards working with films.
Australian label Scanlan & Theodore commissioned Goldin with its spring/summer 2010 campaign, shot with model Erin Wasson in upstate New York. Commissioned by Italian luxury label Bottega Veneta, she photographed models Sean O'Pry and Anya Kazakova for the brand’s spring/summer 2010 campaign, evoking memories of her Ballad of Sexual Dependency photos. In 2011, Goldin made an advertising campaign with model Linda Vojtova for luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo. In 2013, she photographed advertising campaign of Dior titled 1000 LIVES, featuring Robert Pattinson.
Some critics have accused her of making heroin-use appear glamorous, and of pioneering a grunge style that later became popularized by youth fashion magazines such as The Face and I-D. However, in a 2002 interview with The Observer, Goldin herself called the use of "heroin chic" to sell clothes and perfumes "reprehensible and evil."
Recently, an exhibition of Goldin's recent works was censored in Brazil, only two months before the beginning, due to the sexually explicit content of her work. The main reason was the photographs containing sexual acts next to children. In Brazil, there is a law that prohibits the image of minors associated to pornography. The sponsor of the exhibition, a cellphone company, claimed to be unaware of the content of Goldin's work and that there is a conflict between the work with its educational project. The curator of the Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art, changed the schedule in order to accommodate, in February 2012, the Nan Goldin exhibition in Brazil.
Portrayal in film
Goldin was admitted to the French Legion of Honor in 2006 and received the Hasselblad Award in 2007. on 10 November 2007. In 2012, the MacDowell Colony present her with its 53rd Edward MacDowell Medal.
- (2009) Variety: Photographs by Nan Goldin. Skira Rizzoli. ISBN 978-0-8478-3255-2.
- (2007) The Beautiful Smile. Steidl. ISBN 978-3-86521-539-0.
- (2005) Soeurs, Saintes et Sibylles. Editions du Regard. ISBN 978-2-84105-179-3.
- (2003) Devils Playground. Phaidon Press. ISBN 978-0-7148-4223-3.
- (2001) Nan Goldin. 55, Phaidon Press, London. ISBN 978-0-7148-4073-4.
- (1999) Nan Goldin: Recent Photographs. Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston.
- (1998) Couples and Loneliness. Korinsha Press, Tokyo.
- (1998) Ten Years After: Naples 1986-1996. Scalo Publishers. ISBN 978-3-931141-79-0.
- (1998) Emotions and Relations (exhibition catalogue). Taschen, Cologne.
- (1997) Love Streams (exhibition catalogue). Yvon Lambert, Paris.
- (1996) I'll Be Your Mirror (exhibition catalogue). Scalo Publishers. ISBN 978-3-931141-33-2.
- (1995) The Golden Years (exhibition catalogue). Yvon Lambert, Paris.
- (1994) Tokyo Love. Hon don do, Tokyo.
- (1994) A double life. Scalo, Zurich.
- (1994) Desire by Numbers. Artspace, San Francisco.
- (1993) Vakat. Watler Konig, Cologne.
- (1993) The Other Side. Perseus Distribution Services. ISBN 1-881616-03-7
- (1991) Cookie Mueller (exhibition catalogue). Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York.
- (1986) The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. Aperture. ISBN 978-0-89381-236-2.
2009: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, exhibition and screening, Guest of honour at Les Rencontres d'Arles
1997: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, exhibition and screening, Théâtre Antique. Les Rencontres d'Arles.
1987: The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, screening. Les Rencontres d'Arles.
1987: "Nan Goldin", exhibition. Les Rencontres d'Arles.
- Deborah Solomon (October 9, 1996), Nan Goldin: Scenes From the Edge Wall Street Journal.
- Brecht, Bertolt. "Three Penny Opera." Act II, song 12.
- Curley, Mallory. A Cookie Mueller Encyclopedia, Randy Press, 2010.
- Tillman, Lynne. The New York Times. "A New Chapter of Nan Goldin's Diary." 16 November 2003.
- Nan Goldin at Pa. Academy of Fine Arts, ARTINFO, December 17, 2005, retrieved 2008-04-23
- Robert Ayers (March 27, 2006), Nan Goldin, ARTINFO, retrieved 2008-04-23
- Ann Binlot (January 3, 2012), Bottega Veneta Taps Jack Pierson for Latest Arty Ad Campaign ARTINFO.
- Ann Binlot (October 18, 2011), The Ballad of Shoe Dependency: Nan Goldin Shoots a New Ad Campaign for Jimmy Choo ARTINFO.
- "Robert Pattinson Confirmed As New Face of Dior BY CHARLOTTE COWLES". Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- Sheryl Garratt (January 6, 2002), The dark room, Guardian News and Media Limited, retrieved 2010-03-08, "I never took pictures of people doing heroin to sell clothes. And I have a bit of a problem with it. Like this Dior campaign right now, where the girl is really dope-sick then she sprays Addiction perfume and suddenly she's high. I find that really reprehensible and evil."
- Lisa Cholodenko's icy 'High Art' turns from chic comedy to humiliation metroactive.com
- Nan Goldin Matthew Marks Gallery, New York/Los Angeles.
- Nan Goldin, Hasselblad Foundation, 2007, retrieved 2010-03-08
- Hasselblad Award Citation, Hasselblad Foundation, March 8, 2007, retrieved 2010-03-08
- Meghan Pierce(June 9, 2012), MacDowell will honor Nan Goldin New Hampshire Union Leader.