Nan Goldin was born in Washington, D.C., and began photographing at the age of fifteen. She received a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1977. In 1978 she moved to New York, where she continued to document her “extended family.” These photographs, along with those taken in London, Berlin, and Provincetown, Massachusetts, became the subject of her slide shows and first book, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.
In 1985 her work was included in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s biennial. A decade later, in 1996, a major retrospective of her work opened at the Whitney, and toured to museums throughout Europe. That same year a documentary about her life and work, "I’ll Be Your Mirror," made in collaboration with Edmund Coulthard, was awarded a Teddy Award for Best Essay at the Berlin Film Festival. In 2001 a second retrospective of Goldin’s work, "Le Feu Follet," was held at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and toured internationally as The Devil’s Playground.
Among the artist’s other slide shows are "Heartbeat," "Fire Leap," "All By Myself," and "The Other Side." In 2004, as part of the Festival d’Automne, her work "Sisters, Saints, and Sibyls" was displayed in the Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpêtrière, Paris. A few years later, the Louvre specially commissioned a slide show, exhibiting the resulting "Scopophilia" in Paris in 2010 and shown at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York and LA in 2011 and 2013.
Nan Goldin’s work has been published extensively, and her books include The Other Side (1993), A Double Life (with David Armstrong, 1994), Tokyo Love (with Nobuyoshi Araki, 1995), I’ll Be Your Mirror (1997), Ten Years After (1997), The Devil’s Playground (2003), The Beautiful Smile (2008), and Eden and After (2014). Goldin is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including a DAAD Artistsin – Residence Programme, Berlin; a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres from the French government; the Hasselblad Award in Photography; the Englehard Award and the Edward MacDowell Award. The artist is represented by Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, and her work has been exhibited at significant institutions worldwide, including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and has work held in the collections of major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney, both in New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris; and Musée des Beaux-Arts des Nantes, France.
Nan Goldin lives and works in Berlin, Paris, and New York.