THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON


Nan Goldin

BORN 1953 | WASHINGTON, DC 


Currently, these works are not on view to the public.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Chrissy with her 100-year-old grandmother, Provincetown, 1977
Gelatin silver print
8 ½ x 11 inches
Gift of Lillian and Hyman Goldin
2006.10


Chrissy with her 100-year-old grandmother, Provincetown, is a black-and-white photograph, the preferred medium of Goldin’s early work. It was taken during Goldin’s student days at the Museum School in Boston. Even at this beginning stage of her career, the artist shows a distinctive ability to capture intensely intimate moments. In the image, her friend sits at the bedside of an ailing grandparent and stares into the distance, out of the room and the frame.
But, at the same time, the two are emotionally connected—Chrissy tenderly holds her grandmother’s frail hand to her chest, as her grandmother gazes up at her intently, as if searching Chrissy’s face for reassurance or meaning.

 


Matt and Lewis in the tub kissing, Cambridge, 1988
Cibachrome print
20 x 24 inches
Edition 1 of 25
Gift of Barbara Lee
2006.8


This photograph captures two of Nan Goldin's friends in a tender embrace. The work leaves one wondering how Goldin gains unencumbered access while preserving the sense that the subjects were unaware of her presence. Initially displayed at Boston's International Place for a 1996 AIDS Action Committee benefit auction, the photograph was at the center of a censorship controversy when the building owner ordered 10 of the images removed because of their content. The decision was later reversed on all but two works that featured male couples, one of which was this photograph. The ICA was one of the first museums to exhibit Goldin's work when it presented The Ballad of Sexual Dependency in 1985. 

 

Self-portrait on the train, Germany, 1992
Cibachrome print
30 x 40 inches
Edition 24 of 25
Fractional and promised gift of Beth and Anthony Terrana


This self-portrait is an excellent metaphor for Nan Goldin's work as she captures the passing landscape of life through the lens of her camera. A closely cropped image of Goldin gazing out the window of a train, the photograph unflinchingly depicts a personal, quiet moment fraught with a mixture of isolation and anticipation.

 

 

Honda brothers in cherry blossom storm, Tokyo, 1994
Cibachrome print
19 ½ x 19 ½ inches
Gift of Lillian and Hyman Goldin
2006. 11


For an artist who became known for raw scenes of her and her friends’ lives, this photograph is surprisingly joyful. Honda brothers in cherry blossom storm, Tokyo, captures a moment of delight, as the two boys stand amidst a shower of swirling cherry blossoms. Goldin depicts this fleeting instance, which marks the end of the week-long blossoming of the cherry trees in Japan.|
 

 

Noa dressing for the Venus show at Shogun, 1994

Cibachrome print
20 x 24 inches
Edition 1 of 15
Gift of Joan Sonnabend


 

Tomoyuki in front of the TV, 1994

Cibachrome print
20 x 24 inches
Edition 1 of 15
Gift of Joan Sonnabend

 


 

Takaho after kissing, Tokyo, 1994

Cibachrome print
20 x 24 inches
Gift of Judy Goldman


On a visit to Tokyo in the early 1990s, Goldin was struck by the beauty of the city and its people, and for the first time photographed strangers she met in the street and clubs in a series entitled Tokyo Love. Here, Goldin’s signature hand-held close-ups capture details of youth constructing their identity.
 
 

Bruce in the smoke, Pozzuoli, Italy, 1995
Cibachrome print
30 x 40 inches
Edition 12 of 15
Fractional and promised gift of Beth and Anthony Terrana


Nan Goldin's photograph, Bruce in the smoke, Pozzuoli, Italy, represents a more stylized, poetic example of her work and features an almost monochromatic color palette. Bruce is seen crouching down, his shape obscured by the dense smoke, yet silhouetted against the hazy darkness. More formally conceived than Goldin's characteristic diary-like images, this work continues her celebration of the individual and uncovers the inevitable solitude of the self.

 

 

Lil laughing, Swampscott, MA, 1996
Cibachrome print
11 x 14 inches 
Gift of Lillian and Hyman Goldin
2006.12


Lil laughing, Swampscott, MA, shows a moment of what looks to be elation. The artist’s mother sits on the edge of a bed, gripping two “stress balls” in her hands. It is a somewhat absurd gesture—is she laughing because of this? The image is wonderfully ambiguous, as her facial expression lies somewhere between hysterical laugh and primal scream.

 

 

Ulrike, Stockholm, 1998
Cibachrome print
23 ½ x 19 ½ inches
Gift of Lillian and Hyman Goldin
2006.13


Ulrike, Stockholm depicts a baby girl propped on a small stool. With her flushed, rosy cheeks and uplifted finger, Ulrike calls to mind depictions of the Christ child in Renaissance paintings. Her pose seems somewhat formal, yet there is also a sense of spontaneity and chance. Goldin captures the momentary gesture of a child, finding an image with iconic timelessness.
 

 

From Here to Maternity, 1986–2000
24 mounted cibachrome prints
60 x 100 inches
Number 1, Edition of 3
Gift of Sandra and Gerald Fineberg 


From Here to Maternity explores the archetypal mother and child relationship in an assemblage of 24 photographs taken between 1986 and 2000. These tender and striking images of parenthood include women breastfeeding, bathing, and changing diapers: familiar yet poignant activities. The dense arrangement is an unusual format for Goldin, who tends to display her photographic prints as single images. These images were also reproduced together in Goldin’s 2003 monograph, The Devil’s Playground.

 


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