Category Archives: ArtBeats

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Venice: Nan Goldin

So what’s a trip to Austin without a trip to the Blanton Museum of Art?

Last week I got to oppurtunity to check out their current exhibition, The Human Touch, which focused on on the human condition through contemporary photography, sculture, paintings and sketches.

I was happily surprised by the museum, and the exhibition earned major brownie point for me when I stubbled upon a Nan Goldin photograph (one of my favorite contemporary photographers). Her work entitled, Gido on the Dock, (Venice, Italy, 1998) possesses that feeling of being both lost and found, here and there, and captures that mysterious energy we all love about Venice.

Check out one of my other blog posts on Nan Goldin: Drugs, Sex, Art: Nan Goldin

Have a happy Thursday everyone 🙂

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August 2, 2012 · 1:21 pm

Drugs, Sex, Art: Nan Goldin

It is about keeping a record of the lives I lost, so they cannot be completely obliterated from memory. My work is mostly about memory. It is very important to me that everybody that I have been close to in my life I make photographs of them. The people are gone, like Cookie, who is very important to me, but there is still a series of pictures showing how complex she was. Because these pictures are not about statistics, about showing people die, but it is all about individual lives. In the case of New York, most creative and freest souls in the city died. New York is not New York anymore. I’ve lost it and I miss it. They were dying because of AIDS. -Nan Goldin, interviewed by Adam Mazur and Paulina Skirgajilo-Krajewska

Joanna Laughing, 1991

Photography is one of those things I had to grow into. I never loved it, but now I LOVE it! It’s real: no one is stylized or idealized. It’s raw: yeah that line of meth in the background of the photo? Yeah, you can’t take that out (unless your super savvy with PhotoShop). It’s revealing: I remember when I felt that way with you, that kiss. It’s life: captured undeniably.

Nan Goldin (1953) is an American documentary photographer who captures her moments and the people she loves through her spontaneous and raw snapshots of her life. She is best known for her work depicting the underground world of  New York City and Boston through her photos of drag queen friends, her violent relationship with her ex boyfriends, and the slow, painful decent of the health of her AIDS inflicted friends, including her best friend Cookie.

After graduating from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1977, Goldin moved to New York City where she began documenting the post-punk, new-wave music scene, and the gay subculture of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Capturing Bowery’s hard-drug subculture; these photographs, form her famous work The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. Depicting drug use, violent, aggressive couples and autobiographical moments. Most of her Ballad subjects were dead by the 1990s, lost either to drug, overdose or AIDS.

Photography saved my life. Every time I go through something scary, traumatic, I survive by taking pictures. -Goldin

Gotscho Kissing Gilles (Deceased), 1993

Nan and Brian in bed, New York City, 1983

Valerie and Gotscho embraced, Paris, 1999

Car With Smoke, New Hampshire, 1979

Goldin finds pain, love and distress. She is real, and I dig her shit. Her use of natural light doesn’t make anything artificial- it’s like your there. She reveals the people she loves and her work resonates deep when you see them in person. Today I got the chance to see some of her photography in, Unsettled: Photography and Politics in Contemporary Art. The exhibition presents nine artists all dealing with feminism, racism, the AIDS crisis, and gay activism. It is a small, but wonderful exhibition, and Goldin’s work definitely stood out to me.

 If I want to take a picture, I take it no matter what. -Goldin

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Philadelphia’s Magic Garden: A Cluster-Fuck of Awesomeness!

If you have ever walked around the city of Philadelphia, it becomes clear that history is not the only thing making it a special city- art seems to be exploding off the canvases and onto the city streets! Murals line the brick-buildings and funky shop after funky cafe line much of the famous South Street and the surrounding areas.

Isaiah Zagar’s, a award-winning moralist, works can be seen EVERYWHERE in Philadelphia! On the sidewalks, on random walls, and on street corners. You can discover his interesting style throughout the city and I think it really gives Philly a one-of-a-kind vibe I haven’t yet found in other major US cities. Isaiah’s work can be most admired at the Philadelphia’s Magic Garden. The Magic Garden is a non-profit, folk art, gallery space that has both in and out door galleries, all of which displays Zagar’s brilliant work.

He uses color, texture, objects and history to piece together his mosaics, and I will bet you five dollars the workers hear Holy shit, this is fuckin awesome, at least ten times everyday whenever visitors enter. It costs 5 dollars to get in the Magic Garden, but trust me, it is worth every penny!

Zagar’s artwork is heavily influenced by his travels and the personal connections he has made with international folk and visionary artists. Isaiah and his wife Julia completed three years of Peace Corps service in Peru in the mid-1960s, working with folk artists in the Puno region near Lake Titicaca. Soon after, they settled in Philadelphia and began their lifelong work of creating public art and fostering creativity in all its varied forms.

In addition to his three-year Peace Corps service in Peru, Isaiah has completed artist residencies in Tianjin, China and Rajisthan, India. He also participated in a residency at the Kohler Ceramic Factory in Wisconsin.

I mean really!? What a cool sounding guy.

Anyways, moral of the story: Philadelphia’s Magic Garden is a cluster-fuck of awesomeness, and I highly recommend it upon a trip to Philly!

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