French Chris on the Convertible, NYC

Artist: Nan Goldin (American, born Washington, D.C., 1953)

Date: 1979

Medium: Silver dye bleach print

Dimensions: 50.8 x 61cm (20 x 24in.)
Mat: 25 × 32 in. (63.5 × 81.3 cm)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2001

Accession Number: 2001.336.1

Rights and Reproduction: © Nan Goldin Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery


Following in the tradition of Robert Frank and Helen Levitt, Goldin is her generation's greatest practitioner of the "snapshot aesthetic" in photography-the intimate, diaristic mode that yields images that, in the right hands, are both spontaneous and carefully seen, tossed off and irreducibly right. In this early work, the artist has captured her friend as a Chatterton of the Lower East Side, lying across the back of a blue convertible with shirt open, eyes closed, and an empty can of Schaeffer beer by his side instead of arsenic-a contemporary vision of glamorous surrender for our own time.