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Exhibitions > Past Exhibitions

Nan Goldin, Weekend Plans

16 June - 15 October 2017
Main Galleries, West Wing


Nan Goldin, Sheep in abattoir, Rathmullen, Ireland, 2002, Archival pigment print mounted on Dibond, 40.6 x 61 cm. © Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin is one of the most compelling and internationally renowned photographers working today. Weekend Plans features both iconic and as yet unseen works by Goldin, ranging from the 1970s to 2016. These include the ground-breaking 1985 slideshow The Ballad of Sexual Dependency; photographs of friends, family and lovers; sixteen recent and rarely exhibited drawings; and a series of images taken in Ireland in 1979 and 2002, which have never been shown before.

Goldin’s work shares highly personal stories about her own life and those close to her, revealing a deeply sensual world of friendship, love, and transgression. Arresting in their intimacy and sheer honesty, the artist has stated, “I photograph directly from my life. These pictures come out of relationships, not observations”.

The Ballad of Sexual Dependency - the name she gave her ever-evolving slideshow - eventually grew into a forty-five minute multimedia presentation of more than 700 photographs, accompanied by a musical soundtrack. The work is a deeply personal narrative taken from Goldin’s own intimate life experiences throughout the late 1970s and ‘80s which include photos of the artist with her lover, her friends taking drugs, making love and partying, children of her friends, and photos of several of her friends who died from AIDS. “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is the diary I let people read,” Goldin wrote. “The diary is my form of control over my life. It allows me to obsessively record every detail. It enables me to remember.”

Throughout this exhibition there is a particular focus on the role and expression of female relationships in Goldin’s work. Many of the photographs in this exhibition include images of Vivienne Dick, and show their enduring friendship. Taken over the course of three decades from the late 1970s to the early 2000s, the photographs were shot across various locations such as New York, New Hampshire, London, Dublin and Donegal.

A selection of these images form part of a series of unseen photographs from Ireland in which Goldin is showing at IMMA for the first time. Taken during her visits to Ireland with Vivienne Dick in 1979 and 2002 they include landscapes, seascapes, portraits of Vivienne and details of Irish life taken around Donegal, Galway and Dublin. For Irish audiences, some of the scenes carry an almost colloquial visual quality – there are images of sheep, cows, purple skies, mossy rocks and dark beaches.

At IMMA, Weekend Plans is presented alongside the solo exhibition 93% STARDUST by Irish artist and film-maker Vivienne Dick. Both Goldin and Dick were key figures of the ‘No Wave’ movement, an underground music, art and film scene associated with New York’s avant-garde in the late 1970s. Rachael Thomas, the curator of these two exhibitions at IMMA, states, “These are historic exhibitions that bring together two pioneering artists that have shaped photography and film in a raw and real sense. By showing Nan Goldin and Vivienne Dick alongside each other, not only are we acknowledging their friendship but we are celebrating artists that have defined our understanding of life.” 

A new Limited Edition has been produced by Nan Goldin, titled The Singing Pub, and will be available to purchase at the IMMA Shop.

Visitors are advised that this exhibition contains adult themes and explicit imagery that may not be suitable for all audiences. Please talk to a member of our Visitor Engagement team if you need more information.

About the Artist

Nan Goldin (b. 1953)
As a teenager in Boston in the 1960s, then in New York starting in the 1970s, Nan Goldin has taken intensely personal, spontaneous, sexual, and transgressive photographs of her family, friends, and lovers. In 1979 she presented her first slideshow in a New York nightclub, and her richly coloured, snapshot like photographs were soon heralded as a groundbreaking contribution to fine art photography. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency - the name she gave her ever-evolving show - eventually grew into a forty-five-minute multimedia presentation of more than 700 photographs, accompanied by a musical soundtrack.

Her work has been the subject of two major touring retrospectives: one organized in 1996 by the Whitney Museum of American Art and another, in 2001, by the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. Recent exhibitions include the slide and video presentation Sisters, Saints & Sybils at La Chapelle de la Salpêtrière, Paris, contributions to the 40th Les Rencontres d'Arles in 2009, and Goldin's Scopophilia exhibition that was part of Patrice Chéreau's special 2011 program at the Louvre. Goldin was admitted to the French Legion of Honor in 2006 and received the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in 2007. In 2012 The Macdowell Colony awarded Goldin the Edward Macdowell Medal for her enduring vision and creativity. The original 35mm format slideshow installation of The Ballad of Sexual Dependency was recently presented at the Museum of Modern Art, on view until 16 April 2017. Goldin lives and works in Berlin and New York.

Associated Events

Preview Talk: Rachael Thomas & Nan Goldin
Thursday 15 June 2017, 6.00 – 6.45pm / Johnston Suite
Marking the exhibition preview of Weekend Plans, Rachael Thomas, Head of Exhibitions, IMMA and renowned American artist and photographer Nan Goldin discuss her connections to Ireland, bringing to light the influence of individual relationships on Goldin’s work, including a 40 year friendship with Irish artist and film-maker Vivienne Dick, who is featured in several of Goldin’s photographic works. Weekend Plans is the first solo exhibition by Goldin to be presented in Ireland, programmed concurrently with the solo exhibition Vivienne Dick, 93% STARDUST. Listen back to this talk.

Curators Lunchtime Talk Series
Meeting Point - IMMA Main Reception

Friday 11 August, 1.15-2pm / Drop in / No booking required
Join Rachael Gilbourne, Exhibitions, IMMA, for a gallery talk exploring key themes and works presented in the exhibition Weekend Plans.

Lecture / Claire Pajaczkowska - New York No Wave
Wednesday 20 September 2017, 6.30pm / Lecture Room    
Drawing on the work, friendships and creative circles that inspired artists Nan Goldin, Vivienne Dick and their contemporary pioneers of No Wave, movement born out of downtown New York - Dr Claire Pajaczkowska  examines the cultural contexts and feminist politics of New York’s underground scene of 1970s to mid-80’s that became the melting pot for a subculture of avant-garde artists, musician and film-makers to cross pollinate and establish a defining period in the history of film, art, and music.

Exhibition Resources

Read the Exhibition Guide.

Watch an introduction to the exhibition with Rachael Thomas, Head of Exhibitions, IMMA.

Listen to a review on Arena, RTE Radio 1.

Read an interview with Nan Goldin an Vivienne Dick in the Irish Times.

Media Release

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Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 FW31, Ireland
Tel: +353-1-6129900, Email:
info@imma.ie