Nan Goldin – Memory Lost

“Memory Lost”, currently on view through June 12 at the Marian Goodman gallery in midtown Manhattan, offers a retrospective of photographer Nan Goldin’s work and her frank and self-absorbed universe.


Born in 1953 in Washington DC, she is one of the most influential artists of her generation. Known for her candid shots, Nan Goldin often uses the camera as a way of cherishing relationships with her close ones, intimate images of their most vulnerable moments acting as her visual autobiography. Most importantly, her deeply revelatory portraiture serves as a political tool. As she captures New York underworld she and her friends lived in during the 80’s, she raises awareness about issues important to her, and questions the notions of gender and normality. From depicting the LGBTQ community at the time, the HIV crisis, the heroin-addicted subculture to people partying, fighting, having sex, and getting high, Nan Goldin burst onto the art scene in 1980 thanks to her poignant realism. Inspired by the work of fashion photographers Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin, her images represent an entire style that heavily influences our everyday approach to diaristic snapshot photographs.

“For me, it is not a detachment to take a picture. It’s a way of touching somebody, it’s a caress. I think that you can actually give people access to their own soul”.

As she revolutionized the art of photography, Nan Goldin created some of the most indelible images of the last century, giving voice to overlooked communities and subcultures. “Memory Lost” features an important range of her past work, along with the debut of two new series of photographs and two new short films. The first video piece consists of a captivating, almost haunting assemblage of deeply personal shots. Depicting a life lived through the lens of drug addiction, Goldin moves the viewer and invites him to reflect on the darkness of addiction.


The second digital piece is more of an amalgamation of found footage scenes, a work that bewitches the spectator, transporting him into the sensational delights of being high. In the adjacent space, a new series of photographs is presented, depicting Goldin’s personal life during quarantine, freezing time in such a turbulent period through intimate and timeless portraiture. Finally, large images with rich tonality, abstraction, and subtility are exhibited in the southern gallery, translating the artist’s desire to photograph emptiness. A major exhibit not to be missed.


More about this exhibition on the gallery's website here.