Sandra Louise Dyas Photography


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Nan Goldin and The Ballad of Sexual Dependency

DARK ROOMS -- by Hilton Als is an excellent essay about Nan Goldin -- "Nan Goldin's Life in Progress" published in the New Yorker Magazine (July 4, 2016). I received a hard-copy of the article in the mail from my friend Rene Paine. We had just been in NYC in June. 

“Trixie on the Ladder, NYC” (1979): Goldin “showed life as it was happening.”PHOTOGRAPH BY NAN GOLDIN / COURTESY MATTHEW MARKS GALLERY

I was lucky. Really lucky. I was in NYC with my friend Rene Paine a few weeks ago. We stayed with friends of ours in Brooklyn. We had a few days and nights so we hustled and walked miles to see as much as we possibly could. My feet are still sore. I left a pair of worn-out mule Naots on the sidewalk outside of Mark and Amanda's apartment.

Amanda works for MoMA and she gave us comp tickets. Amanda and Mark and their daughter Ida live in Brooklyn. Rene, Mark and I worked in Iowa City for Public Access TV in the 1990s. Rene was the director at that time. It was pretty wonderful to catch up with Mark as well as get to know Amanda and Ida. Getting free tickets to MoMA was a plus and the shows that were up -- triple plus.

Nan Goldin's "Ballad of Sexual Dependency" is a book but before it was a book it was a slide show with music. I got to experience the slide show with Goldin's set list of music (1985) in person at MoMA. Hearing the music she chose for her slide show was one of the best things about being there. Of course I expected to hear Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, but Petula Clark's "Downtown" was a surprise as well as a Randy Newman song.

Golden was born in 1953, same year as I was born. Her life growing up was vastly different from mine but still, I can relate to some of what she felt. It was a weird time to grow up. You are in-between as a female. I mean I grew up with expectations of my life's goal of being a housewife with children. I recall quite vividly the night laying in my bed at the age of fifteen thinking..."I will be married by the time I am twenty...that is only five years from now."

We were in-between because of the limited expectations and roles of women in the fifties..daughters, wives, mothers. Growing up on a farm in Iowa, going to a tiny rural school in the town of Andrew, population 350 and shrinking, thinking beyond these roles was unfathomable.

Which leads me to another exhibition I was very fortunate to witness at MoMa. It is a collection of works from the 1960s (1960-1969) - completely up my alley -- much of which I am familiar with (Bruce Nauman's early video work, Valie Export, Nam June Paik and many others) but some of the work I hadn't heard of. Very exciting, very fun, I could have lingered in those rooms for days....

"...this presentation focuses on a decade in which interdisciplinary artistic experimentation flourished, traditional mediums were transformed, and sociopolitical upheaval occurred across the globe. The galleries proceed chronologically, with work installed by year. This organizing principle steps back from the classification of galleries by art historical themes or “isms” and instead aims to provide a variety of fresh discoveries and unexpected connections." 

A large collection of dada works was also being exhibited. Score! DADAGLOBE! Really enjoyed seeing the collaborative works and the correspondence amount the artists.

"Dadaglobe Reconstructed reunites over 100 works created for Dadaglobe, Tristan Tzara’s planned but unrealized magnum opus, originally slated for publication in 1921. An ambitious anthology that aimed to document Dada’s international activities, Dadaglobe was not merely a vehicle for existing works, but served as a catalyst for the production of new ones. Tzara invited some 50 artists from 10 countries to submit artworks in four categories: photographic self-portraits, photographs of artworks, original drawings, and layouts for book pages."