Goldin, Nan

Goldin, Nan, 1953–, American photographer, b. Washington, D.C. She left home in her early teens for a series of mainly urban bohemian undergrounds; her earliest photographs were evocative black-and-white snapshots of Boston drag queens. Moving (1978) to New York City's Bowery, she began an intimate, encompassing, and unflinching photographic diary of her and her friends' lives in intensely colored transparencies, haphazardly lit and composed. Some 700 of the images, the best known of which is probably her 1984 self-portrait taken after her boyfriend beat her severely, comprise her most influential work, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. First shown, set to music, in 1980, it was published as a book in 1986. Goldin's other collections include The Cookie Portfolio (1976–89), portraits of the underground actress Cookie Mueller; The Family of Nan (1990–92), portraits of friends who died of AIDS; I'll Be Your Mirror (1996), which accompanied a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; and Scopophilia (2011), a slideshow that paired her images with art from the Louvre.

See G. Costa, Nan Goldin (2010).

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