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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Closed for installation
until June 7, 2024

Admission always free
29 May 93until3 Jul 93

Nan Goldin

The Ballad of Sexual Dependency

555 Hamilton St

A closeup of 2 framed photo works, mounted on a white wall. In one photo, a person lays on a couch that matches their dress. In the other there is a semi-nude person, sitting and wearing a cow mask.

The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is an exhibition of colour photographs by New York-based artist Nan Goldin.

The Ballad is an intensely personal visual diary of Goldin's life and that of her extended family in Boston, Provincetown, London, Berlin, Mexico, and New York. Sexuality and sexual politics are the themes which link this body of photographs taken over a span of fifteen years. In her work, Goldin explores the chasm which exists in women's and men's idea of the nature of relationships. She states, "men and women are irrevocably strangers to each other, irreconcilably unsuited, almost as if they were from different planets .... I'm trying to figure out what makes coupling so difficult." The sense of cinema verite in The Ballad stems from a direct relationship with her subjects more than an objective observation of them.

"The instant of photographing, instead of creating a distance, is a moment of clarity and emotional connection for me. There is a popular notion that the photographer is by nature a voyeur, the last one invited to the party. But I'm not crashing; this is my party. This is my family, my history."

This exhibition of seemingly spontaneous photographs is a detailed and oftentimes visceral documentary not only of Goldin's life but also of a disillusioned and disenfranchised generation of the 70s and 80s.


Nan Goldin was born in Washington, D.C. in 1953 and grew up in Boston, Mass. The Ballad has been included in the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial in 1985 and the Berlin Film Festival in 1986. More recently, her work was exhibited in the 1993 Whitney Biennial and at the Jeu de Paume in Paris.