Artist biography

American photographer. Goldin began taking photographs as a teenager in Boston, MA. Her earliest works, black-and-white images of drag queens, were celebrations of the subcultural lifestyle of the community to which she belonged. During a period of study at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, she began displaying her work in the format of a slide-show, a constantly evolving project that acquired the title (appropriated from The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht) The Ballad of Sexual Dependency in 1981. This collection of images had a loose thematic structure and was usually shown with an accompanying sound-track, first in the clubs where many of the images were taken and then within gallery spaces. In the 1990s Goldin continued to produce portraits of drag queens, but also made images of friends who were dying of AIDS and recorded her experiences travelling in Asia. The latter resulted in a book and exhibition, Tokyo Love: Spring Fever 1994, a collaboration with the Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki. In this collection of portraits Goldin found a strong equivalent for her Western community in the East. In 1995 she worked with the British filmmaker Edmund Coulthard to create a film about her life and work, I'll Be Your Mirror (London, Blast! Films for BBC-TV, 1995). In 1996 Goldin's reputation was further enhanced by a highly influential retrospective, centred around The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, at the Whitney Museum, New York.

I'll Be Your Mirror (exh. cat., ed. N. Goldin, D. Armstrong and H. Werner Holzwarth; New York, Whitney, and elsewhere; 1996–7)

10 December 2001

Article provided by Grove Art Online