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 nightclub, and her richly coloured, snapshot 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 700 photographs, accompanied by a musical soundtrack.
Her 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, contributions to the 40th Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2009, and Goldin’s Scopophilia exhibition that was part of Patrice Chéreau’s special 2011 program at the Louvre. Goldin was admitted to the French Legion of Honor in 2006 and received the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in 2007. In 2012 The Macdowell Colony awarded Goldin the Edward Macdowell Medal for her enduring vision and creativity. The original 35mm format slideshow installation of The Ballad of Sexual Dependency was recently presented at the Museum of Modern Art, on view until 16 April 2017. Goldin lives and works in Berlin and New York.