Nan Goldin Displays Work in Oscar Wilde’s Former Prison Cell

Nan Goldin Oscar Wilde Prison.jpg

Nan Goldin, the artist known for her intimate and emotionally revealing photos of addicts and sex workers, has unveiled her latest project inside a prison in Reading, England.

Among the past incarcerated tenants is literary legend Oscar Wilde, who served a two-year sentence in 1895 for indecency. Though such a distinct locale may appear disconnected at first, it serves as a perfect tribute for the prominent writer, whom Goldin has idolised her entire life. “I worshipped Wilde,” remarks the photographer in an interview with the Guardian. “He was a big influence, not just creatively but in the way he lived, his attitude and his flamboyance, his caustic wit and his style.” Goldin’s contribution to the group show is a work entitled “The Boy”. Comprising a series of images of German actor Clemens Schick taken between 1996 and 2012, the artist dated the subject briefly prior to his coming out. “I don’t know how I didn’t clock him as gay,” she said. “I have been clocking men as gay before they knew it since I was 14 or 15. But somehow I didn’t see it.”

Organised by London’s Artangel, this celebration of Wilde – who today remains the ultimate dandy – is part of a collaborative effort featuring other art heavyweights including Marlene Dumas, Ai Weiwei, Steve McQueen and Wolfgang Tillmans.


Nan Goldin in Oscar Wilde's Reading Prison
Photo: James Lingwood


“Inside – Artists and Writers in Reading Prison” is produced by Artangel and runs until 30 October 2016

Read more: Nan Goldin: ‘My Pictures Show me How Much I Lost’

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