Peter Goin

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Peter Goin
Residence Reno, NV
Nationality American
Occupation Foundation Professor of Art in photography and videography at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Children 2

Peter Goin (born 1951) is an American photographer best known for his work within the altered landscape, specifically his photographs published in the book Nuclear Landscapes. His work has been shown in over fifty museums nationally and internationally and he is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Goin is currently a Foundation Professor of Art in Photography and Videography at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has also done extensive rephotography work in the Lake Tahoe region.


Peter Goin was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1951. He grew up a third culture kid, spending time in Indonesia, Turkey, and Brazil as a child and young adult. Goin received his MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. He moved to Nevada in 1984. He became fascinated with the basin-and-range environment—much of Nevada belongs to the Bureau of Land Management and is removed from private ownership making it open for camping, exploring, and photographing. The focus of his work is the American West and specifically the Nevada landscape.[1]

Intrigued by the effects of humans on the landscape, Goin uses photography to depict landscapes that have been altered. In his book Nuclear Landscapes, Goin presents photographs of various nuclear test sites and power facilities that have been abandoned and the effects these sites and facilities have on the surrounding area. He gained unprecedented access to test sites and facilities in Nevada, Washington, and the South Pacific (as well as risked exposure to radiation and shark attack) in order to examine these unique places. This project investigates and documents evidence of the cultural modification of nuclear landscapes, and includes images at the Nevada Test Site, the Hanford Nuclear Site, the Trinity Site, and the Marshall Islands.[2] Additional series of work include his photographic survey of the Mexican–American border: Tracing the Line, a survey of the border from Brownsville, Texas, to Tijuana, Mexico, that investigates the relationship of the border line to the landscape, including how the boundary line divides the landscape and whether there is a distinction between the human-made and natural landscape;[3] Humanature, in which Goin explores and documents the extent to which people and nature have become a continuum;[4] Black Rock, a detailed analysis and lyrical interpretation of the Black Rock Desert, a previously avoided or neglected region of Nevada that is about the size of Delaware, that shows the visual, physical, and historical complexity of the place;[5] and his narrative photograms, The Pursuit of Happiness, structured loosely on the narrative format, the panels can be read individually or as a whole and reflect the design and concept of Indonesian shadow puppets. Awards for his work include two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and at the turn of the new century he was awarded the Governor's Millennium Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Goin's video work has also garnered acclaim. He earned the Best Experimental Documentary Award at the 2001 New York International Film & Video Festival for his video Structures of Everyday Life. Structures weaves together narrative and visual vignettes from months of videotaping a group of Reno, Nevada teens, showing adolescents speaking their views and expressing their desire for acceptance. The program was aired by PBS in 2001.[6] Other videos of Goin's include In Search of Ritual: The Burning Man, which interprets the Burning Man art festival through multiple voices and viewpoints of participants at the 1993 event. In Search of Ritual: The Burning Man was nominated for an EMMY in 1994. Goin has coauthored numerous books as well as served as an editor for several texts.

Selected Books[edit]

  • Tracing the Line: A Photographic Survey of the Mexican-American Border,', Artist Limited Edition, 1987
  • Nuclear Landscapes," Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991
  • Stopping Time: A Rephotographic Survey of Lake Tahoe, University of New Mexico Press, 1992
  • Arid Waters: Photographs From the Water in the West Project, University of Nevada Press, 1992
  • Humanature, University of Texas Press, 1996
  • A Doubtful River, University of Nevada Press, 2003
  • Changing Mines in America, University of Chicago Press, 2004
  • Black Rock, University of Nevada Press, 2005 (coauthor Paul F. Starrs) (in paperback, Black Rock Institute Press, 2010)[7]
  • Nevada Rock Art, Black Rock Institute Press, 2009
  • South Lake Tahoe: Now & Then, Arcadia, 2009
  • A Field Guide to California Agriculture, University of California Press, 2010 (coauthor Paul F. Starrs)[8]
  • The Nature of California Agriculture, University of California Press (coauthor Paul F. Starrs), pending

Selected exhibitions[edit]

Solo Exhibitions

  • "Que Chula es Cholula," Casa del Caballero Aquila Gallery, Cholula, Mexico, October 2009 - February 2010
  • "Narrative Photogram Light Boxes: Wilshire/Normandie Metro Station," Los Angeles Public Art, Los Angeles, CA, 2007–2009
  • "Peter Goin: Images from Black Rock," Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, OR, April - June 2007
  • "Black Rock," Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV 2005–2006
  • "Contested Places," Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA, 2005
  • "Structures of Everyday Life," video screening New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, February 2002. Second screening in Los Angeles, July 2002. (Best Experimental Documentary Award; also accepted for national distribution through the American Program Service and distribution through Films through the Humanities & Sciences), 2002
  • "Humanature inclusive," Kunsthaus, Nurnberg, Germany (major exhibit combining all of the Humanature and Nuclear Landscapes exhibition photographs), 2001
  • "Peter Goin, Fotowerken," MKgalerie, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2001
  • "Kerne Landskaber," Museet for Fotographie, Odense, Denmark. Traveling exhibit includes Copenhagen and Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 1999
  • "The Pleasure of Anxiety and Other Tales," Gallery 44, Toronto, Canada, 1999
  • "Nuclear Landscapes & Humanature," Museum fur Photographie, Braunschweig, Germany, 1998
  • "Humanature," Center for Perceptual and Experimental Art, Buffalo, NY, 1997

Group Exhibitions

  • "Ancient Ofrenda: Elements of an Altar," Arizona State University Museum of Anthropology, Tempe, Arizona, October 2008 - January 2009 (homage to Day of the Dead)
  • "Contemporary Desert Photography: The Other Side of Paradise," Roswell Art Museum, June - August 2009
  • "Acclimatation," Centre National d'art Contemporain, Nice, France, October - May 2008 (catalog)
  • "Imaging A Shattering Earth: Contemporary Photography and the Environmental Debate," National Gallery of Canada, June - October 2008
  • "The Nuclear Dilemma," International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva, Switzerland and the Gernika Peace Museum, Spain, 2008 (catalog)
  • "1st International Exhibition of Photography," Halic University, Istanbul, Turkey, November - December 2007 (catalog)
  • "Enigma: Absence + Presence in Contemporary Art," Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV, August 2007 - January 2008
  • "Nevada Now: Selections from Nevada Arts Council Artist Fellowship Program," Nevada Touring Initiative, UNLV Marjorie Barrick Museum of Natural History, March - April 2006 and Nevada State Library & Archives, September - November 2006
  • "The Altered Landscape: The Carol Franc Buck Collection," The National Academy of Sciences, August - October 2005 and the Keck Center of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., 2006
  • "Heartfelt," Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 2005 (catalog)
  • "Ansel Adams and the Development of Landscape Photography in America," Sheldon Art Galleries, St. Louis, Missouri, 2003
  • "Masterworks of American Photography," Amon Carter Museum, Ft. Worth, Texas, 2003


  1. ^ [1] University of Nevada Reno Art Faculty Page
  2. ^ [2] Goin, Peter. Nuclear Landscapes. 1st ed. George F. Thompson. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.
  3. ^ [3] Artists Website
  4. ^ Goin, Peter. Humanature. University of Texas Press, 1996
  5. ^ Goin, Peter and Paul F. Starrs. Black Rock. 1st ed. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2005
  6. ^ [4] American Public Television
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links[edit]