Urgent Museum Notice

Self-portrait in Kimono with Brian, NYC

Close up of Self-portrait in Kimono with Brian, NYC

A man and woman sit next to each other on a bed. The man, topless, sits with his back to the woman. She sits leaning against him and looking away, her head resting on her hand and her elbow on her bent knee. A photo on the wall behind them appears to be of the same man.

Nan Goldin, Self-Portrait in Kimono with Brian, NYC, 1983; Cibachrome print, 27 x 39 3/4 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Promised gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in honor of the National Museum of Women in the Arts Tenth Anniversary; © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Self-portrait in Kimono with Brian, NYC
Nan Goldin

This photograph is part of Nan Goldin’s epic work, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, 1981-96. Comprising hundreds of photographs, it documents Goldin and her friends’ bohemian lives in downtown New York City. Her photographs of her “tribe” in the intimate spaces of their homes and hang-outs are gritty and unsparing.

Goldin did not stage her photographs, yet there is a palpable sense of drama in all of her work. Fascinated by the worlds of movie-making and fashion, Goldin and her circle made posing and picture-taking part of their daily lives. Goldin has often exhibited images from The Ballad as slide shows with musical soundtracks.

With uneven lighting and focus, Goldin’s photographs have the feel of on-the-run documentary works, but their subjects are highly personal. The dejected expressions and opposing body postures in this self-portrait of the artist with her boyfriend communicate the dynamic of their turbulent relationship.

Equally, the works suggest an essential disconnect between men and women that is the central tenet of this body of work. Goldin notes: “I think that men and women are strangers to each other, irrevocably unsuited…. I am dealing with the difficulty of coupling, and the difficulty in maintaining intimacy.”

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Nan Goldin
  • Title

    Self-portrait in Kimono with Brian, NYC
  • Date

    1983
  • Medium

    Cibachrome print
  • Dimensions

    27 x 39 3/4 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Promised gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in honor of the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ tenth anniversary
  • Photo Credit

    © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery
  • On Display

    No