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Goldin was born in 1953 into a family of Jewish origin in Washington D.C., but grew up among several adoptive families from different cities in New England, after his sister committed suicide. Soon after, Goldin enters an experimental school in the Boston area, the Satya Community School. When he is 15 years old, he has his first contact with photography at school; two years later, when the 70s begin, Goldin already appears as an aspiring professional photographer inspired, according to her, “in the images of modern fashion magazines”.
Around this time, Goldin began to frequent the Provincetown community, a popular Massachusetts vacation destination among homosexuals on the East Coast of the United States. There, the artist knows those who would be the inhabitants and protagonists of her photographs for the next 20 years: Bruce, Sharon, Cookie, Waters …
Shortly thereafter, Goldin enters the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where he graduates in 1978. In his class they also study renowned artists such as Philip-Lorca diCorcia and David Armstrong, whom he had met in Satya and who would to become one of Goldin’s great accomplices, participating in the group of The Five of Boston. At that time, in addition, the photographer begins to work with color films and use flash lights.
With that baggage, Goldin leaves Boston and settles in the Bowery neighborhood of Manhattan, where he encounters the outbreak of punk and the parallel appearance of dozens of counter-cultural impulses. In New York, the photographer finds the great theme of her work: the narration of the sentimental and sexual life of that environment. Goldin, in fact, qualifies herself as a “documentary photographer”.
To undertake this narrative, Goldin works with series of photographs that tell the life of his friends from inside: initiation, fullness and sexual dependence, depression, poverty, love, loneliness, violence, illness … To emphasize the narrative effect , Goldin presents those images in films that show the photographs successively. The most famous of them is called The Ballad of Sexual Dependence (title taken from a song by Bertolt Brecht), and already shows the devastating effect of AIDS on that generation in 1986. One of his later series, The Ballad from the Morgue insists on the same subject.
So much so that, shortly after presenting The Ballad of sexual dependence in Europe, Goldin enters a detoxification clinic, where he continues to work. There, the self-portrait becomes one of the recurring themes of his work. Later, the photographer would shoot an autobiographical documentary, I’ll Be Your Mirror, which takes its title from a song by the Velvet Underground.
Shortly after leaving the clinic, in 1991, Goldin leaves the United States and goes to Berlin to take care of his friend Alf Bold, who has AIDS. Since then, the photographer lives between the German capital, Paris and Yale, where she is a professor.
In 1992 he exhibited at the Matteu Marks Gallery, his work being the subject of two major traveling retrospectives: one organized in 1996 by the Whitney Museum of American Art and another, in 2001, the Center Pompidou, Paris and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London.
Exhibits include the slide and video presentation Sisters, Saints & amp; Sibilas in La Chapelle de la Salpêtrière, Paris, contributions to Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2009, just in 2006 she was admitted to the French Legion of Honor. Later she exhibits “escopofilia”, which is part of the special program in 2011 of Patrice Chéreau at the Louvre. The MacDowell colony gives Nan Goldin the Edward MacDowell Medal for his permanent vision and creativity. In the same year he mounted an exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro.
Nan, since the early 80s, was photographing children and is currently doing it. He exhibited in Athens a slide show in 2010 and then his continued version in 2011 with images that are edited and synchronized with a soundtrack. Some photographs are recent and others from your file.
His last published book was, The Beautiful Smile in 2007 and he said “The last seven years, I have not been able to publish a book for a contract and I have been considered a dead artist.”
In 2007 he received the International Award of the Hasselblad Foundation for his work
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