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Thread: Nan Goldin

  1. #11
    Ian Leake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Svend Videbak View Post
    Big show of hers now on at Helsinki's KIASMA, museum of contemporary art. Shall go at the weekend.
    It would be great to hear what you think after you've seen her show Svend.

  2. #12

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    Ansel Adams was 'known' of course in the late '70's but not quite a household word and then engaged a publicist --remember, 'buy a Datsun and plant a tree' national campaign in print and on tv? Adams was on Time mag. cover and by the early 80's he WAS a household word. Point is, stunts like Svend is reporting can only bring people into the exhibition and the little I know of her and her work, she is prone to off kilter stuff and drug use et.al and of course, her subject matter is on the edge, as well. Things have a way of settling and if her work is as good as some indicate, then she deserves the noteriety and acclaim.

  3. #13

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    I've had mixed feelings about Nan Goldin's work too. Some I like, some I don't.

    But I recognise she is an very important photographer - and her business is not to have us 'like' everything.

    The least of my criticisms of her work would be on a technical level. There is something so very depressing about the technically "perfect", (conventionally speaking) yet arid print. Anyone can do technique, given time - it takes something more to explore the human condition in a meaningful way. Also, she is using technique in her own way, for her own ends.

    I warmed to her more after seeing her on the 'Genius of Photography' series. It always helps to see more of people I think, to hear their own words. I don't think she's an outsider, portraying the 'underclass' or however you want to put it, saying 'look at these people I've made into art'. I think she is taking pictures of her friends, the people she knows best, working with them collaboratively (mostly), and she is as much, or more, one of them as one of us. I have the feeling she is possibly a little naive about her role as artist, (or maybe I'm being presumptious) but I didn't doubt her genuineness.
    Last edited by catem; 02-13-2008 at 04:16 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by catem View Post
    I've had mixed feelings about Nan Goldin's work too. Some I like, some I don't.

    But I recognise she is an very important photographer - and her business is not to have us 'like' everything.

    The least of my criticisms of her work would be on a technical level. There is something so very depressing about the technically "perfect", (conventionally speaking) yet arid print. Anyone can do technique, given time - it takes something more to explore the human condition in a meaningful way. Also, she is using technique in her own way, for her own ends.

    I warmed to her more after seeing her on the 'Genius of Photography' series. It always helps to see more of people I think, to hear their own words. I don't think she's an outsider, portraying the 'underclass' or however you want to put it, saying 'look at these people I've made into art'. I think she is taking pictures of her friends, the people she knows best, working with them collaboratively (mostly), and she is as much, or more, one of them as one of us. I have the feeling she is possibly a little naive about her role as artist, (or maybe I'm being presumptious) but I didn't doubt her genuineness.
    A great wrap-up, I agree completely. Many people know how and why they use photography (not all of course), and Nan Goldin is one of them. Many people, when confronted with someone that uses the medium in a different way or for different purposes than they do, get confused. Some get defensive and dismissive. "Heart Shaped Bruise" is, to me, one of the most amazing photographs I've ever seen. Say what you want about the composition, but the choice to document what she was going through along with the visual impact of the picture impresses me to no end. Sometimes pictures are an end unto themselves (the so called "art" photos), hers have always seemed to be a means to an end.

    Isaac
    See my adventures in Yemen here:
    www.isaharr.com

  5. #15
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobNewYork View Post
    The problem is, that her work is all "art" and little, if any, craft.
    Without craft, there is no art. Craft comes first (in a temporal sense). If it's there, then maybe the piece can be art.

    That being said, I've seen some of her prints which were marvelous. First rate craftsmanship. (I say "her prints", but I have no idea who actually produced them.) Considering the fact that she photographs with a Leica they were, in fact, quite amazing.

    Is it art? I'm not sure. She seems rather compositionally haphazard.

  6. #16
    Ian Leake's Avatar
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    Of course craft may not be recognised by mainstream opinion if it doesn't conform to the standards of the day. What I've seen of her work has a recognisable style so my assumption is that she works to achieve that style through craft. Whether I've seen enough of her work to fairly judge this I don't know.

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    "Craft comes first (in a temporal sense). If it's there, then maybe the piece can be art."

    Excuse me but what a load of b*ll*cks. Craft with no conceptual thought is just a clever trick. Art has a meaning, implied or otherwise, craft is merely the sterile repetition of technique.

  8. #18
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    Paul A, he did not say that craft was art, he only said that it must be there first. I think he is right, but in a kind of obvious way. I mean, the craft that one person brings to their work might be different from what someone else might consider "good", and this can affect their opinion of the art. But there is no way around the fact that some kind of craft, as per your definition of craft, is necessary first in order to produce art.
    Tim N. Roscoe

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  9. #19

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    Craft does not have to mean a perfectly produced print. It can simply involve the ability to capture the subject matter in a meaningful way. It can also include the skill to edit down images into a coherent presentation.

    I have never been a big fan of her work. I think "Ballad of Sexual Dependency" is interesting from a voyeuristic point of view. Looking at the dysfunction of relationships and wondering if any of it reflects back to us.

    However I find I re-evaluate art constantly as my opinion taste and attitiude change with education, age and world experience. When I first discovered Diane Arbus years ago I really disliked the work. Over the years after taking the time to understand the artist, the context of the work and see prints in person I now like her work.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

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