Artist of the Day #10: Nan Goldin

People talk about the way magazine ads give people self-esteem complexes, but couldn’t we say that this could go back to Greek and Roman sculptures and paintings? I mean I don’t see too many guys today walking around looking like Michelangelo’s David. Or is it that these early sculptures influenced later day photographers, and then there work makes us feel fat and unattractive. Maybe its just me, but I think this was one of many points that photographer Nan Goldin might have been trying to make with her most recent exhibit entitled Scopophila at the Matthew Marks gallery.

The show includes a series of carefully chosen photographs and images in various collages. Each collage contains similar visuals taken from actual photos and from old paintings and sculptures. What happened was Goldin was given special and unique permission to photograph from the entire collection at the Louvre in Paris. She combined images she gathered there with photos from her own library that fit similar subject matter.

Combined with the still images was a 25-minute long slide installation with over 400 of these images, also entitled Scopopholia, which means, the love of looking. I think more than anything, Goldin is trying to draw some parallels between the way art was depicted then, and the way we present ourselves today. There is a lot that is different, but there is also very much that is the same.