Famed Photographer Nan Goldin Takes on the Louvre

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Nan Goldin, the photographer best known for her gritty snap shots of heavy drug use, violent couples, candid autobiographical moments, and the New Wave scene of the early ’80s is back with a new show, Scopophilia, at Matthew Marks Gallery. In her first exhibit in New York since 2007, Goldin explores the themes closest to her heart: love, gender, sexuality, and voyeurism. Yet this time around, she pairs her own autobiographical photographs with images taken at the Louvre Museum, where she was given free reign to train her lens on some of the most prized works of art history. While some of these paintings and sculptures will be familiar, these are not the works you think you know. Goldin’s backside view of Antonio Canova’s Cupid and Psyche is startlingly intimate and sexually charged. In her own words, Goldin reveals her inspiration: “Desire awoken by images is the project’s true starting point.” If you can’t make it to the show in person, click through to see some of Goldin’s brash and personal new photos.

Nan Goldin. Swan-like embrace, Paris, 2010. Chromogenic print. 30 x 40 inches; 76 x 102 cm. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Nan Goldin. La Morte de Clèopâtre, Giampetrino, 2011. Archival pigment print. 20 x 15 inches; 51 x 38 cm. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Nan Goldin. Sunny, Paris, 2009. Archival pigment print. 30 x 30 inches; 76 x 76 cm. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Nan Goldin. Odalisque, 2011. Chromogenic print. 45 x 66 1/2 inches; 114 x 169 cm. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Nan Goldin. St. Sebastian, Puvis de Chavannes, 2011. Archival pigment print. 20 x 15 inches; 51 x 38 cm. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Nan Goldin. Clemens, Paris, 2005. Archival pigment print. 30 x 30 inches; 76 x 76 cm. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Nan Goldin. The Back, 2011. Chromogenic print. 45 x 57 inches; 114 x 145 cm. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Nan Goldin. Young hermaphrodite sleeping, Le Louvre, 2010. Chromogenic print. 30 x 40 inches; 76 x 102 cm. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Nan Goldin. The nap, Paris, 2010. Chromogenic print. 24 x 64 1/2 inches; 61 x 164 cm. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Nan Goldin. Cupid with his wings on fire, Le Louvre, 2010. Chromogenic print. 40 x 27 3/8 inches; 102 x 70 cm. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery