Nan Goldin's photography pushes the envelope time and again, capturing images of life that are challenging and controversial; forcing people to voyeur into the disturbing and unsettling rather than feeding into the vapid glamour that tends to veil society and our notions of visual pleasure.
|Nan after being battered|
"It’s a big mistake to think that feminism is the same everywhere. It’s important to recognize how notions of womanhood and femininity are constructed in different societies by different people. I think it’s a mistake when people define themselves entirely as essentialists. But women are still very critical"-Linda Nochlin.
Goldin's work reveals a "personal odyssey as well as a more universal understanding of the different languages men and women speak, and the struggle between autonomy and dependency". Sometimes seen as too extreme and indecent, her work was well revered in the past, throughout the seventies, eighties, and well into the nineties, as cutting edge, yet it was a huge struggle for her to be seen as an artist rather than a lady with a camera attempting to take radical jaw dropping photos. In 1996, The Wall Street Journal's Deborah Soloman did an article following up on Goldin's 1996 exhibit entitled "I'll Be your Mirror", that showcased on Madison Ave in New York City. Soloman wrote; [Goldin's work] is a "brazen come-on from a woman who is determined to reflect the contorted face of our times". She goes on to state; "The world according to Ms. Goldin is a raw, rank place populated by drug heads, drag queens and more or less ordinary lonely-hearts of a bisexual persuasion. It is a world where people spend a lot of time coupling in bed and invariably forget to change the sheets the next morning. Is Ms. Goldin just a naughty girl intent on embarrassing her presumably proper parents?"
That article was published in 1996, and the showing of her work was highly controversial due to its strong 'in your face' subject matter. Not many people felt that her work constituted as art, and instead of considering the educational and social benefits one could obtain from observing her work, simply rode it off as porn. Even in the millennium, people are still not accepting. In 2007, one of Goldin's photographs that was being shown at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in great Britain, was seized by the police for being too obscene and exploitative in its subject matter, the photo was deemed pornographic and was essentially stripped away of all its artistic intentions (The Guardian). Because the photo depicts children, Goldin was also condemned as being a pedophile photographer--exploiting children's bodies.
|Klara and Edda Belly Dancing|
(Photo that was Banned)
- Where the Great Women Artists Are Now by Barbara A. MacAdam, http://www.artnews.com/2007/02/01/where-the-great-women-artists-are-now
- Hoban, Phoebe. "The Feminist Evolution." ARTnews. N.p., 1 Dec. 09. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. <http://www.artnews.com/2009/12/01/the-feminist-evolution/>.
- Goldin-"The Ballad of Sexual Dependency." Aperture Foundation NY RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. <http://www.aperture.org/shop/books/nan-goldin-the-ballad-of-sexual-dependency-book>.
- Soloman, Deborah. "Nan Goldin: Scenes From the Edge." The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal, 9 Oct. 1996. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. <http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB844810967532358500#>.
- Rosenberg, Karen. "A Voyeur Makes Herself at Home in the Louvre." The International New York Times: Art & Design. The New York Times, 8 Dec. 2011. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/09/arts/design/nan-goldin-scopophilia-at-matthew-marks-gallery-review.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1384610522-mmkgmzkZ4q//krZHIV8oLQ>.
- Jones, Jonathan. "Goldin's Art Is Not Porn." The Guardian. The Guardian, 27 Sept. 2007. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. <http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2007/sep/27/goldinsartisnotporn>.