Documenting the intimate lives of friends and lovers, as well as trusting acquaintances from bar scenes in New York and Boston, photographer Nan Goldin compiled hundreds of images made over two decades into The Ballad of Sexual Dependency. Presented in its original, 35mm slide-show format, the images seem to invite us into a world that is universally human yet highly specific. “There is a popular notion that the photographer is by nature a voyeur, the last one invited to the party,” Goldin has said. “But I’m not crashing, this is my party. This is my family, my history.” The title of the work is taken from a song in Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera; its soundtrack features New York bands like The Velvet Underground, whose song lyrics evoke themes explored within the photographs.
This installation is part of the exhibition Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870, which is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Modern. Major support for the exhibition is provided by the Trellis Fund and the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.
The Walker Art Center’s presentation is made possible by generous support from Miriam and Erwin Kelen. Media partner Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.