Nan Goldin is Second Major Artist to Exit Marian Goodman Gallery

In December, the painter Gerhard Richter left the Marian Goodman Gallery. On Wednesday a second major artist, the photographer Nan Goldin, announced she would depart Goodman for the Gagosian Gallery, to expand her global profile and support her studio, she said in an interview. “I have been in discussion with Gagosian off and on for many years about working with them and now I feel ready,” said Goldin, who recently returned from a press tour for the Oscar-nominated documentary about her, “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.”

“And I have nothing but fond memories of working with Marian,” Goldin, 69, explained. “I did two of the best shows of my life with the gallery. I loved working with her and I don’t see her anymore. That’s the reality.”

The artist has exhibited with Marian Goodman Gallery for the last five years.

But Goodman, 94, has withdrawn from daily operations of her dealership, according to the gallery. A new management team of five partners, including the gallery’s president, Philipp Kaiser, a former museum executive, is running the company. Though not as large as megagallery rivals such as David Zwirner, Gagosian and Hauser & Wirth, the gallery has played a defining role in history over the last 50 years by representing important artists like Richter, Goldin, Julie Mehretu and William Kentridge.

“We were proud to support Goldin’s work and activism over the last five years and we wish her well,” Linda Pellegrini, a spokeswoman for Marian Goodman Gallery, said in a statement.

Last year, Richter left the Goodman gallery for David Zwirner. In February, Kaiser and the other partners announced that the company headquarters would move to a large building in TriBeCa, which is being designed by the architect Markus Dochantschi.

Leadership changes are often difficult at galleries, which thrive on personal relationships between dealers and artists. Goldin said that part of her decision to join Gagosian was motivated by the move of Andrew Heyward, a former employee at Marian Goodman — who has known the artist for nearly 30 years — to the Gagosian Gallery. “Not only did she revolutionize the potential and role of photography and the moving image in art and culture,” Heyward said of Goldin in a statement, “but she repeatedly demonstrates the extraordinary power artists can have in leading societal change through advocacy and the bravery of direct action.”

Goldin is widely celebrated for her photography, which includes her slide exhibition “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.” Over the last five years, she has overseen an activist group called Prescription Addiction Intervention Now, or PAIN, which draws attention to the pharmaceutical companies that have profited from the opioid epidemic. In 2018, she filled the reflecting pool surrounding the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with orange pill bottles. The demonstration and a staged “die-in” were part of a larger effort to protest museums that received donations from the Sackler family, whose money was often tied to Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin. (The Met later removed the Sackler name from its galleries, as have the Guggenheim Museum, the British Museum and others.) Her own struggle with addiction was discussed in the 2022 documentary “All the Beauty and Bloodshed,” directed by Laura Poitras.

Despite the attention and praise, Goldin said that prices for her artworks have lingered below those of her contemporaries. She is hoping that a new gallery can increase her profile around the world and widen her collector base.

“Nobody poached me,” Goldin said. “And joining Gagosian will not in any way compromise my political activism.”

She wished nothing but the best for her former dealership: “I hope it lasts. I hope it continues.”

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