Nan Goldin, C.Z. and Max on the Beach, 1976

Nan Goldin “Ballad of Sexual Dependency”
The Museum of Modern Art, NYC
June 11 – February 12, 2017

The MoMA has reinstalled Nan Goldin’s 700 snapshot slideshow. The portraits are sequenced in unison with a soundtrack that correlates to the photographs. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is a personal narrative taken from Nan Goldin’s experiences from the 70’s, 80’s and beyond during her time spent in places like Boston, New York City and Berlin. The title is taken from a song in Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera. Much like the actual opera, the artist is seen in private moments of passion and turmoil. There are images of drug use, the effects of AIDS and domestic violence.

The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is the diary I let people read…The diary is my form of control over my life. It allows me to obsessively record every detail. It enables me to remember.” -Nan Goldin

"Misty and Jimmy in a Taxi" NYC, 1991.
“Misty and Jimmy in a Taxi” NYC, 1991.

Nan has shown her slideshow in numerous settings over the years and still has the ability to evoke strong emotions in the viewers. The pictures include her past lovers and friends that were heavily involved in drugs as well as the gay club scene. Some of the most stirring images feature one of her past lover’s, Brian, her blackened eye from dealing with the same partner and the photographs of her friends as they died from AIDS.

Trixie on the cot, New York City, 1979
Trixie on the cot, New York City, 1979

The musical soundtrack is a new component to the exhibition which plays songs like, “It’s a Man’s World” by James Brown that help give context to the photos at a given point in the slideshow. The MoMA has presented The Ballad in its original 35mm format, along with materials from the artist’s archives and photographs from the Museum’s collection that appear as images in the slideshow as well.

Live performances will periodically accompany The Ballad during the course of the Museum’s presentation; performance details will be announced during the course of the exhibition presentation. In the meantime, visit the Ballad of Sexual Dependency while it is on display until Sunday, February 12th.  The exhibition is located on the second floor in the Contemporary Galleries. There will also be a live discussion about the the exhibit on July 29th.


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