I was impressed by Nan Goldin‘s work when her The Ballad of Sexual Dependency was published in book form here around 1989 (the well-thumbed copy is still on my shelf), but it was really seeing the slide show on which the book was based in 2002 that truly made me appreciate her work, and to write about her at some length in Nan Goldin’s Mirror on Life.  (The previous post is a shorter piece, Nan Goldin – Police swoop about one of the sillier reactions to her work which led to me re-writing and posting the earlier piece here.)

I’ve  not seen her most recent show, Scopophilia, (there is an installation video too) which closed in New York just before Christmas, but it was interesting to see some of the reviews of this show which “pairs her own autobiographical images with new photographs of paintings and sculpture from the Louvre’s collection.”

Joerg Colberg noted that this statement from the press release gave him a queasy feeling, and I read it too, thinking things like ‘Oh Dear!’ and ‘pretentious crap’ and there was more to follow.

But then James Danziger on his The Year in Pictures blog praised it as “The one exhibition not to miss before Christmas“though he did go on to say that his favourite part of the exhibit was one of Goldin’s “trademark slide shows.” Certainly for anyone not familiar with these, that would have made a visit worthwhile, and for those of us who have already experienced them (and I watched all at the Whitechapel through at least twice in 2002) a pleasant reminder.

But presumably Colberg took that as read, and his review concentrates on the work photographing the artworks at the Louvre which were shown paired with some of Goldin’s earlier ‘autobiographical’ images. It’s worth reading what he has to say about the exercise, which he concluded made “an incredibly pedestrian exhibition.” I have a strong feeling I would have been in complete agreement.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.