All The Beauty And The Bloodshed

The Tate, the National Gallery in London, the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim. What do these galleries and museums have in common besides being the most popular and well known art centers in the world? Nan Goldin with P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) organized protests at all of these galleries to achieve a very important change – to make these galleries ditch one of their most influential sponsors, the Sackler family.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is a documentary about a wonderful, influential woman, photographer Nan Goldin. Many might have seen the protests organized by Nan on the news between 2018 and 2022. Now that the documentary is out it is the perfect time to look into the reasons and the full story as to why these protests were organized. The previously mentioned Sackler family got rich by promoting opioids and Nan was one of the victims of this horrible addiction.

In addition to being a hero, an icon, a leader, Nan Goldin is an amazing photographer who helped to positively change society’s views on female artists, the LGBTQ+ community and AIDS through her work. She worked with many now famous LGBTQ+ artists and helped them to get the recognition they deserve. It was very interesting to see interviews with gallerists who were the first ones to publish her work and who helped her friends get recognized, too. There were also interviews with the mentioned friends. Those interviews helped to see different perspectives of the story which was a sensitive and necessary accessory to the film.

Throughout the whole film pictures are shown. Mostly ones that Nan Goldin took, but also pictures that were taken by others, of her. Nan comments on them while telling her story up until now. This woman has taken a picture of everything that ever happened to her. It looks like she is actually living through pictures, as if she was born a photographer. We are so used to it now, but she started doing that in the 70s! 

All the pictures by Nan Goldin that were shown in the documentary looked like slips from movies. Every single picture had a story and to hear the author’s commentary on top was a blessing. That was a great decision by the director. Nan was driven to create art by her sisters suicide and the movie portrays very well through the pictures how trauma can be expressed and coped with through art.

It was a very good experience to see a film that brings tears of pride and happiness to my eyes about this icon that is Nan Goldin. Spectacular graphics, interesting story, wonderful film by Laura Poitras.

Written by Salomėja Siparytė


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