INTERVIEW // Nan Goldin on Fashion, Catholic Art and Photographs that Make You Cry

by Caroline Simpson

“I never take an intentionally mean picture. I won’t show a picture where a person doesn’t look beautiful.”

Caroline Simpson Interviews Nan Goldin, for Pure Magazine, 2002

FS: Is film still the number one thing in your life?

NG: My number one thing is still to go to a movie. They seem surprised by how long I take to install here because I can spend a week installing a show. There are 350 pictures in this show. Not all are new. Two thirds are from 1999 onwards. I’ve got really prolific since I moved to Paris where I am living permanently, for the rest of my life, until I find another idea. I have really close women friends here: Valerie, Raymonde, not Joana so much, Maria Schneider, who was always a real heroine of mine who and has now become a close friend. I have very healthy strong relationships with women. I didn’t have so many in New York. My life there was almost entirely about gay men for 30 years.

FS: So that’s the reason you’re in Paris?

NG: That’s a big reason.

FS: Do you find it more sympathetic? Do you find Europe more politically sympathetic?

NG: No place could be less sympathetic to my politics than America. My work is received more intelligently in Europe. I had my first museum showing of my slide show in Rotterdam, in 1983. I love Rotterdam. I love harbour cities in general. I like it much better than Amsterdam which is too much like a postcard. It’s too cute for me. Rotterdam is more real, it’s got a stomach. In ’83 I started travelling round Europe with my slide show. It wasn’t until I moved to Europe and got accepted in a big way in Berlin in the ’90s that I got acceptance by the big art world in New York. I didn’t really get to be known, or in the market, til ’93 in New York.


Interview by Caroline Simpson original appeared in Pure Magazine, 2002

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