Nan Goldin –
Memory Lost

12.1.24 - 21.3.24

American photographer and activist Nan Goldin was named the world's most influential artist by Art Review Magazine in 2023. Her latest masterpiece 'Memory Lost' became part of the museum collection earlier that year and was on view in the West Wing.

Nan Goldin (born 1953) is widely regarded as one of the most important artists of her generation. She rose to international fame in the 1980s with her slide show ‘The Ballad of Sexual Dependency’, a deeply personal depiction of bohemian subculture and nightlife in cities such as New York and Berlin in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Recently, Goldin topped the Power 100-list of international magazine Art Review as the most influential artist of our time: “Nan Goldin tops the list as the most visible and prominent model of artist as not just documenter and witness, but also spokesperson, whistleblower, activist and ethical voice.”

Intimate and harrowing

Nan Goldin, Memory Lost, installation. Courtesy: Marian Goodman Gallery.

'Memory Lost' (2019-21) is an approx 24 minute long digital slide show, which has already been heralded as a masterpiece in Goldin's career. The work - which is both intimate, poetic, captivating and heartbreaking - revolves around abuse, friendship, love, deprivation and loss. It is jointly owned by the Louisiana and Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

The work, which could be seen in the Cinema on the lower floor of the West Wing, is composed of images and recordings from Goldin’s extensive archive. The artist has struggled with drug addiction herself and nearly died a few years ago as a result of her addiction to the painkillers OxyContin. Since then, she has been at the forefront of the fight against the Sackler family, the producers of this drug, which in large part caused the devastating opioid epidemic in the United States. Between 1999-2019 hundreds of thousands of Americans became addicted to morphine-like drugs and the epidemic is estimated to have cost more than half a million lives.

Nan Goldin, Memory Lost, installation. Courtesy: Marian Goodman Gallery.

Goldin and her activist group P.A.I.N. was the focus of the much talked about documentary ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’, which in 2023 received a host of awards and was nominated for an Oscar. The film’s director Laura Poitras has stated: “Nan Goldin has influenced multiple generations of filmmakers through her storytelling and the emotional depth of her work.”