Exhibition Review: Nan Goldin

Exhibition Review: Nan Goldin

 Taken by Peter Kougias.

Taken by Peter Kougias.

By Peter Kougias

Snuggled in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Nan Goldin’s photographs showcase extravagant portraits of everyday life claiming their importance among the ancient artifacts that dwell in the gallery’s halls.

Spanning from 1970s Boston to 1980s-New York City, “Goldin captures stories of love, friendship, and the lost moments of her social circles devastated by drug use and the AIDS epidemic.”

Reminiscing to Bomb in 1991 about her upbringing, “I left home when I was 13 or 14 and lived in communes and went to one of those free schools in the ’60s based on Summerhill in Massachusetts called Setya…When I was 18, I started living with this man who was in his thirties in downtown Boston and I fell in with these drag queens. I started living with them and photographing them. That’s when I started taking pictures seriously.”

 “Self-Portrait in My Blue Bathroom, Berlin”. Nan Goldin (American, born in 1953). 1991. Photograph, silver-dye bleach print. * Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fund for Photography. © Nan Goldin* Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Self-Portrait in My Blue Bathroom, Berlin”. Nan Goldin (American, born in 1953). 1991. Photograph, silver-dye bleach print. * Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fund for Photography. © Nan Goldin* Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Each snapshot portrays an innocent light shining through the cruelty of the world. 

Glamorous images of LGBTQA nightlife jump out of the frame as their subjects’ flamboyant charisma pose in the prints; high school yearbook photos lined up to be remembered in a community that is accepting. 

Gazing at “Boy at the Boatslip”, brings back memories of basking in the sun during those dog day afternoons waiting to go in for another dip. “Cookie at Vittorio’s Casket’s” red hues warm a dismal scene as the living looks away from the inevitable being that is death. 

 “Suzanne with Mona Lisa, Mexico City”. Nan Goldin (American, born in 1953). 1981. Photograph, silver-dye bleach print. * Gift of Davis and Carol Noble. © Nan Goldin. * Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Suzanne with Mona Lisa, Mexico City”. Nan Goldin (American, born in 1953). 1981. Photograph, silver-dye bleach print. * Gift of Davis and Carol Noble. © Nan Goldin. * Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Goldin’s pictures illustrate the normality of LGBTQA lives, hence advocating for equality in a heteronormative society.

Look at “Lewis and Matt on the Bed, Cambridge, MA”. Everybody deserves to snuggle under the covers with their loved one no matter their sexual orientation, race, gender identification, or religion. 

 “Lewis and Matt on the Bed, Cambridge, MA”. Nan Goldin (American, born in 1953). 1988. Photograph, silver-dye bleach print. * Gift of Rudy Kikel and Sterling Giles. * Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

“Lewis and Matt on the Bed, Cambridge, MA”. Nan Goldin (American, born in 1953). 1988. Photograph, silver-dye bleach print. * Gift of Rudy Kikel and Sterling Giles. * Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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