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Nan Goldin / MATRIX 89

October 3, 1985 - October 3, 1985

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C.Z. and Max on the Beach, Provincetown, 1977 from The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, 1982-85.

Download the exhibition brochure (PDF).

Nan Goldin's Ballad of Sexual Dependency is a 45-minute, 500-slide-long multimedia piece. This series of quickly-projected and rapidly-dimmed slides, taken by the artist over a period of thirteen years, explores the technical limitations and thematic possibilities inherent in such an innovative medium. That is, the previously ignored boundary between the still photograph and active film or video is presented as a new entity.

The subject of the photographs-"friends, rednecks, and familiar scuzz scenes..." and the nature of the music which accompanies the piece-" a brilliantly edited soundtrack of some of the most wildly pungent popular music of the last decades..." (Liebmann) evoke New York's Lower East Side subculture. The result is an ironic, poignant and sometimes terrifying view of "modern romance." Too often, people are shown as isolated, alienated and bored in surroundings which should provide companionship, intimacy and entertainment. For example, bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms contain distanced lovers, sterile mirrors and blaring televisions. Although critic J. Hoberman describes Ballad of Sexual Dependency as possessing matter-of-fact sensationalism," he also asserts that its "narrative subtext transcends the voyeuristic."

Nan Goldin was born in Washington, D.C. in 1953. She received her B.A. from Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, in 1977, and her M.F.A. from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1978. She currently resides in New York.

Ballad of Sexual Dependency is presented in conjunction with the Pacific Film Archive of the University Art Museum.


MATRIX is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal Agency, Mrs. Paul L. Wattis, the T. B. Walker Foundation, and the Alameda County Art Commission's County Supervisors' Art Support Program.