A Museum School alumni magazine recently alerted me to the news that photographer Nan Goldin of The Ballad of Sexual Dependency fame was admitted to the French Legion of Honor this summer. (Visit the Matthew Marks Gallery for a refresher on Goldin’s work.) I first imagined Nan donning red epaulettes and the white kepi with its neck flap, and shipping off to L’Afrique du Nord, but then I realized I was thinking of the French Foreign Legion.
No, the Legion of Honor is France’s highest award, established by Napoleon himself and bestowed only on a few foreigners each year for achievements in their respective fields, in Goldin’s case arts and letters. (The Legion of Honor has been admitting women for 150 years longer than the Foreign Legion, which was forced to do so only recently.)