As a teenager in Boston in the 1960s, then in New York starting in the 1970s, Nan Goldin has taken intensely personal, spontaneous, sexual, and transgressive photographs of her family, friends, and lovers. In 1979 she presented her first slideshow in a New York City nightclub, and her richly colored, snap-shot-like photographs were soon heralded as a groundbreaking contribution to fine art photography. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency—the name she gave her ever-evolving show—eventually grew into a forty-five-minute multimedia presentation of more than 900 photographs, accompanied by a musical soundtrack, and published as an award-winning book.
Goldin’s work has been the subject of two major touring retrospectives: one organized in 1996 by the Whitney Museum of American Art and another, in 2001, by the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. Recent exhibitions include the slide and video presentation Sisters, Saints & Sybils at La Chapelle de la Salpêtrière, Paris, and her contributions to the 40th Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2009. Goldin was admitted to the French Legion of Honor in 2006 and received the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in 2007. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency was presented live in Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, London, in 2008, and the slideshow was installed in the exhibition Here is Every. Four Decades of Contemporary Art at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, September 2008 to March 2009. Her Scopophilia exhibition was part of Patrice Chéreau’s special program at the Louvre.
Goldin was given the Lucie Award in 2014 for Outstanding Achievement in Portraiture. Goldin lives and works in Paris and New York.