Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin was mentioned in the project brief, so I decided to look at her first. Goldin worked through her social group and photographed their own little World. Within these collections, we say images made featuring homosexuals, transsexuals, drug use and abuse. Her work hve a very snapshot-like quality, but if you look deeper you can see an underlying story of her life and the lives of those around her running through her ongoing works. From a lecture we were given at the beginning of the year I remember being shown a photograph of a homosexual couple in a relaxed stance, and it being compared to a photograph of the same couple years down the line when one of the two men was suffering from aids. These two images alone are enough to prove the sentimentality and openness Goldin is willing to share within her work. Maybe it is a way to gain more approval for these subcultures?

These are the two pieces I was referring to. The couple shown are named Giles and Gotscho. The images were taken around the early nineties when she began documenting her life and friends. There are many more photographs portraying these two subjects, in many different situations. They go from happy, loving portraits to an empty hospital corridor, which I can only imagine is to reflect on the empty, quiet moment after Giles’ passed away.

“My art was the diary of my life. I photographed the people around me. I didn’t think of them as people with AIDS. About ’85, I realized that many of the people around me were positive. David Armstrong took an incredible picture of Kevin, his lover at the time, right before Kevin went into the hospital. I photographed him when he was healthy. At that stage, we still didn’t know very much. There was a lot of ignorance. We were very obsessed with what caused it: There were all kinds of rumors, everything from amyl nitrate to bacon. People were tested and being told they had something called ARC, that quickly became medically non-relevant. I was in denial that people were going to die. I thought people could beat it. And then people started dying.

One of the ways I started becoming involved was through artist and activist Avram Finkelstein in ’86, ’87. I’d become friends again with him, having known him when I was 18 and living with the drag queens in Boston in the early ’70s. He was in art school then. In the 1980s he became my hairdresser up at Sassoon. He had helped start the Silence Equals Death Collective, which turned into Act Up. He was one of the people who designed the logo Silence = Death, and the triangle.” – From this article written by Nan Goldin:


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