New York

Nan Goldin

Pace/MacGill Gallery

Four years ago Nan Goldin published The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, the record of a slide-show that documented the mostly unhappy practices of her friends and herself with a series of sickly colored vérité-style images. The themes were the pursuit of pleasure, drugs, and sex, and the kind of tears, violence and garish disarray that accompanied this lifestyle; the most memorable image from the book is a startlingly direct picture of Goldin with her face puffed and bruised from a beating by her lover.

Today many or most of Goldin’s friends are dead, and though she has spent time in a detox program, Goldin has recently emerged with a new portfolio of photographs that is apparently intended as a reassertion of her power to keep on with her life and work. It has ended up as a sad meditation on her medium’s limitations as a form of solace and salvation.

The first gallery of the exhibition contains

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