News__ The Love of Looking

November 04, 2011 | By


Scopophilia is another one of those Greek words that’s a mouthful to say and tough to spell. It means the love of looking, and perfectly reflects photographer Nan Goldin’s extensive work in capturing intimate and private moments that address sexuality, obsession, dependency, and love.

For Nan Goldin's new exhibit at the Matthew Marks gallery, she pairs a selection of her own photographs alongside photographs of art and sculptures from the Louvre. The 25 minute piece is assembled in her preferred slideshow medium, only now it’s less high school projector style and very much an intense filmic opera. The matched up photographs evoke the sexual pleasure of looking at the body.

But you can’t just take pictures and use Louvre paintings at your leisure. Rather, the Louvre commissioned Goldin’s work and gave her exclusive access to photograph anything and everything she wanted. Goldin, who is ready to admit she’s a far cry from a typical Louvre art type, privately cruised the vast rooms and spent time with giants. She told the New York Times in an interview, “I didn’t think I was qualified to even be there […] I’m not an art historian and I barely even went to school. I dropped out of high school. I did go to art school, but it was back in those days when that meant sitting outside in the car and getting high.”

Her transgressive style captured moments from the post-punk new-wave music scene and Bowery drug culture to current celebrities like Ryan McGinley and Marc Jacobs, all with an honesty and intimacy that is groundbreaking.

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