Nan Goldin, Sisters, 2010, diptych, color photograph, overall 24 x 59".

Nan Goldin

Matthew Marks Gallery | 502 W. 22nd Street

Nan Goldin, Sisters, 2010, diptych, color photograph, overall 24 x 59".

Scopophilia, according to the press release for Nan Goldin’s recent show at Matthew Marks Gallery (her eighth there since 1992), means “the love of looking.” While such a benign definition is more or less etymologically correct, we know—via legacies of psychoanalytic theory and feminist critique—that it hardly does the word justice. Indeed, as Goldin herself narrates during her twenty-five-minute video projection of that title (dated 2010), scopophilia simultaneously stirs and satisfies desire in the looker, a quite remarkable feat. Yet for its pleasures there is a price: As Laura Mulvey so famously argued in 1975, the consuming (usually male) gaze renders its (usually female) subjects as so many objects.

For a time, then, feminist theorists, artists, and pleasure-seekers were left to speculate about different modes of pleasure, ways in which desire might operate that

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