As a teenager in Boston in the 1960s, then in New York starting in the 1970s, Nan Goldin has taken intensely personal, spontaneous, sexual, and transgressive photographs of her family, friends, and lovers. In 1979 she presented her first slideshow in a New York nightclub, and her richly colored, snapshotlike photographs were soon heralded as a groundbreaking contribution to fine art photography. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency—the name she gave her ever-evolving show—eventually grew into a forty-five-minute multimedia presentation of more than 900 photographs, accompanied by a musical soundtrack.
Goldin first exhibited at Matthew Marks Gallery in 1992. Her work has been the subject of two major touring retrospectives: one organized in 1996 by the Whitney Museum of American Art and another, in 2001, by the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. Recent exhibitions include the slide and video presentation Sisters, Saints & Sybils at La Chapelle de la Salpêtrière, Paris, contributions to the 40th Les Rencontres d'Arles in 2009, and Goldin's Scopophilia exhibition that was part of Patrice Chéreau's special 2011 program at the Louvre. Goldin was admitted to the French Legion of Honor in 2006 and received the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in 2007. Most recently, she was awarded the 2012 Edward MacDowell medal. Goldin lives and works in Paris and New York.