Goldins Drag Queens… – By Katya Kazakina

Nan Goldin has made her name by creating raw and intimate photographs of drag queens, drug addicts and members of the punk-rock demimonde.

Her new show at Matthew Marks Gallery takes us back to the beginning of her career, with 57 works made between 1972 and 1974. Although several of these images have been included in Goldin’s solo shows at the Whitney Museum and Centre Pompidou in Paris, many are being shown for the first time. The gelatin- silver prints record the artist’s first immersion into drag subculture.

The black-and-white photographs and a handful of color images follow a group of transvestites Goldin met when she was 19 and living in Boston.

Ivy and Naomi, Bea and Colette were “the most gorgeous creatures” she had ever seen, Goldin wrote in her book “The Other Side.” They quickly became her friends, then roommates and eventually subjects of photographs.

The images range between hard-edged and impressionistic, gloomy and glamorous. We see swanlike Bea playing with a doll; then, she’s reclining on a bed, her flat chest, nipple and hairy legs exposed.