model: James King; photographer: Nan Goldin; “Naked New York” Matsuda Autumn/Winter 1996
In her artist’s notes for this project, Nan Goldin says, “No more heroin chic with numbness ….. instead these pictures are about the revolution of androgyny but lived with joy.”
I, personally, am not seeing the joy. This image in particular has been held up as the epitome of heroin chic, but the look is so un-chic. The shirt is hideous and King looks terrible — not just skinny with dark circles under her eyes, but dazed and ill — like an actual junky as opposed to a stylist’s conception of a junky.
Goldin has said that her photographs are about “an awareness of pain, a quality of introspection” (The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, 1986) but she must have been aware that the pleasure many people got from her images was from titillation and voyeurism and not from contemplation of the human spirit in the face of hardship.
(scanned by insidethevisible)