Nan Goldin owes her fame to the people America hid. She emerged in the late Seventies with photographs of the grimy bohemia on New York’s Lower East Side. Forty years later, she’s the subject herself, splashed across the papers and art magazines: she’s staging protests in US and UK galleries – and, as of yesterday, the Louvre – that have marble halls and faux-classical wings thanks to the Sackler family’s gifts. The world Goldin used to represent, one of addicts and dropouts, is rising up against those who, she says, developed the opioids that have killed 200,000 Americans in 20 years.
Goldin’s photographs have always been “unflinching”, present tense. The people in them were flash-lit, and looked...
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