Nan Goldin

  • Nan Goldin

    Leave the world a better place than when you entered it.

    —Arthur Sackler to his children

    I SURVIVED THE OPIOID CRISIS. I narrowly escaped. I went from the darkness and ran full speed into The World. I was isolated, but I realized I wasn’t alone. When I got out of treatment I became absorbed in reports of addicts dropping dead from my drug, OxyContin.

    I learned that the Sackler family, whose name I knew from museums and galleries, were responsible for the epidemic. This family formulated, marketed, and distributed OxyContin. I decided to make the private public by calling them to task. My

  • Greer Lankton

    By the night I photographed Greer Lankton at the opening of her second show at Civilian Warfare, I’d known her for years. I met her in the late ’70s when she first arrived in New York, from Chicago, and though still in her early twenties, she had already created some significant pieces, like her huge cloth pregnant hermaphrodite giving birth, made after having a dream in which she gave birth to herself—a dream that might be said to presage her entire life and work. Born the youngest son of a Presbyterian minister, her father’s church paid for her sex change, and Greer spent the rest of her life

  • BELLOCQ ÉPOQUE: THE “STORYVILLE PORTRAITS”

    LATE ONE BERLIN NIGHT in 1991, a famous German fashion photographer invited me and two friends to join him for a trip to Bel Ami, his favorite brothel in the Grunewald. The presence of a woman as a customer created a ripple of surprise, but the photographer, being a regular and popular visitor, put them at ease. Glossy prints of his published photographs of the house, group portraits of the “girls” who worked there and the pimp (“host”), were hanging on the walls. Though the setting was a German villa, the props were familiar: patterned wallpaper, heart-shaped velvet pillows, mirrors, chandeliers,

  • DOING LIFE

    Danny Lyon was a photo-school icon in the ’70s; his subjects helped define the milieus of choice for the male photographers of those times—prisons, biker gangs, political movements. This year, though, when the word on the street made his retrospective at the Lowinsky Gallery in New York a must-see for me, I was surprised to find that much of his new work was devoted to his family: photos of his wife and children from the ’70s to the ’90s, made into collages that sometimes include older pictures of and by previous generations of Lyon’s family, and occasionally pictures from the other worlds in

  • NAKED CITY

    IN 1992, THE EDITORS of the Japanese magazine déjà-vu invited me to Tokyo to meet Nobuyoshi Araki. I’d already heard about this wild man of Japanese photography, and of his diaristic, intensely sexual work. Araki had procured a copy of my Ballad of Sexual Dependency, though it’s unavailable in Japan due to stringent censorship laws. I was astounded to find a man on the other side of the planet who was working the same obsessions I was.

    We met for the first time at Dug, his regular jazz bar in Shinjuku, where he presented me with a bottle of I. W. Harper bourbon (his favorite drink) with my name