Art, Books September 30, 2009 By Sarah Coleman

goldin page2 Nan Goldin
     Variety, which follows the life of a woman who sells tickets in an adult movie theater in Times Square, was perfect subject matter for Goldin. Her shots from the movie, now released by Rizzoli in a book called Variety, follow the same preoccupations as her other work, exploring how female sexuality is both fetishized and feared by men. With its frank depictions of a woman being turned on by pornography, the film flew in the face of 1980s Second Wave feminists who argued that porn degraded women.
     As a self-contained document, Goldin’s shots from Variety are sultry and intriguing. There’s little to distinguish them from many of the images in The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, except for a loose narrative that follows the main character, Christine, on her voyage of self-discovery. Dislocated from the movie, the images are at times too vague and mysterious, but they have an undeniable emotional intensity. As writer James Crump points out in an illuminating essay at the end of the book, Variety is more of a “time capsule” than a comment on our own era — and yet, in an era of Jennifer’s Body and Desperate Housewives, some of Gordon and Goldin’s meditations on the threat of female sexuality seem sadly relevant.  

1 2 3 4 5