Gagosian Gallery announced its representation of artist Nan Goldin. Goldin has become recognized for transforming the role of photography in contemporary art. First documenting her own life and relationships, Goldin’s work is deeply personal and addresses themes of identity, love, sexuality, addiction, and mortality. Her 2022 documentary film All the Beauty and the Bloodshed was nominated for an Academy Award this past year.
The Ballad of Sexual Dependency
Goldin’s groundbreaking work The Ballad of Sexual Dependency includes 700 slides with an eclectic soundtrack that documents her life and chosen family and the complexity of intimacy, friendship, and loss. Initially projected in nightclubs, it was included in The Times Square Show in 1980, the Whitney Biennial in 1985, and countless museum exhibitions around the world.
A Lifetime of Protests
In her work Goldin documents the struggles and courage that defined her community’s response to the devastating AIDS epidemic. In 1989, she organized Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing at New York’s Artists Space, the first exhibition featuring the work of artists who were living with or had died from AIDS, or whose art responded to the disease, including David Armstrong, Peter Hujar, Greer Lankton, and David Wojnarowicz.
The US government attempted to censor the exhibition, provoking protests that resulted in restoration of funding. Over the past five decades Goldin has celebrated the transgender community. In her earliest black-and-white portraits from The Other Side bar in 1970s Boston, Goldin documented the lives of her roommates and closest friends, capturing their beauty, vulnerability, and joy.
Goldin has referred to them as “pioneers” of the gender identity revolution taking place today. In recent years, Goldin has focused on natural light in her work, exemplified by an ongoing series of large-scale photographs of the sky that are unbound by frames.
These serene works explore spirituality and mortality. Goldin’s portraits feature photographs of individuals and couples, children and families taken over extended periods; other series picture empty rooms with palpable traces of human presence. Whether presented as projected images, large-scale grids of multiple images, single prints, or books, Goldin’s photographs operate in narrative sequence with thematic relationships to one another.
In 2017, Goldin founded P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) in response to the overdose crisis. The group stages direct public actions to hold Big Pharma accountable and expose the complicity of institutions that accept such funding.
These protests have led to the removal of the Sackler name from the British Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Musée du Louvre, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Serpentine Galleries, Tate, and other museums and universities. The organization promotes life-saving treatments for people using drugs and advocates for a public policy of harm reduction.In addition to Gagosian’s global representation, Goldin will continue her longtime relationship with Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco.