Nan Goldin, Chrissy with Her 100-Year-Old Grandmother, Provincetown, 1977. Gelatin silver print, 8 1/2 × 11 inches (21.6 × 27.9 cm). Gift of Lillian and Hyman Goldin. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery. © Nan Goldin
A celebrated photographer with roots in Boston and at the ICA/Boston, Nan Goldin has made intense portraits of her friends, family, and strangers. In 1985, the ICA presented Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, one of her first museum exhibitions, and has shown her work numerous times in subsequent years.
Chrissy with Her 100-Year-Old Grandmother, Provincetown is part of a gift from the collection of Goldin’s parents, Lillian and Hyman Goldin, facilitated by the artist in 2006. A silver gelatin print, the medium Goldin preferred for her early work, the photograph was taken during her student days at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Even at this nascent stage of her career, the image shows the artist’s distinctive ability to capture moments pregnant with meaning. Sitting at the bedside of an ailing grandparent, her friend Chrissy stares into the distance, beyond the room and the frame. The emotional connection between the two is evident: Chrissy tenderly holds her grandmother’s frail hand to her chest as the elderly woman gazes up at her intently, as if searching her face for reassurance or meaning. Among the first works to enter the ICA’s collection, it marks the museum’s commitment to this original and important Boston artist.