Bibliography
January 1, 1995
Prestel, Munich - New York
catalogue
David s. Ruben
Curator of 20th Century Art, Phoenix Art Museum
It's only Rock and Roll
Rock and Roll Currents in Contemporary Art.
The portraits of Hendrix, Joplin, and Lennon are particulary stirring because their ghostlike treatment translates as a poetic and humble tribute to major creative forces whose lives were tragically cut short. As exemplified by the paintings of Helnwein, the purpose of a contemporary rock and roll portrait may extend well beyond biographical signification to stimulating reflection upon larger issues of social or political consequence.
(page 64):
In marked contrast to the excessive flamboyance of Cleveland's collages stand the somber, minimal Portraits by the Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein, whose recent paintings might easily be mistaken for dark, monochromic abstractions. An eclectic painter who works in a variety of styles because "life is too varied to be controlled under one approach", Helnwein also has established himself as a leading journalistic photographer, having produced covers for such magazines as "Rolling Stone" and "Time".
His dual career parhs have essentialy merged in the series "Fire", where each painting is a dark blue field within which is contained a barely discernible portrait of a famous countercultural rebel.
Helnwein's subjects are culled from the world of politics (Angela Davis, Che Guevara, Malcolm X), sports (Muhammad Ali), literature (Jean Genet, Arthur Rimbaud) and film (Marlon Brando, Bruce Lee), but the majority are from the arena of popular music (Miles Davis, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Lou Reed, Keith Richards, Don van Fleet, Sid Vicious and Frank Zappa).
The portraits of Hendrix, Joplin, and Lennon (plates 65 - 67) are particularly stirring because their ghostlike treatment translates as a poetic and humble tribute to major creative forces whose lives were tragically cut short.
As exemplified by the Paintings of Helnwein, the purpose of a contemporary rock and roll portrait may extend well beyond biographical signification to stimulating reflection upon larger issues of social or political consequence.
In the art of Jeff Koons, Jerry Kearns, and Leonard Mainor, for example, such images have been utilized to comment on the problematic topics of art- world economics, the downside of fame, and racial inequity.
More Helnwein articles related to Rock and Roll:
1982 HELNWEIN SELF-PORTRAIT ON THE COVER OF THE SCORPIONS LP "BLACKOUT"
1982
people.freenet.de
"BLACKOUT", HELNWEIN-COVER
1982, auf ihrer zweiten US-Tour, mit Iron Maiden als Support Act, promoten die SCORPIONS als Headliner ihre bahnbrechende LP "Blackout", das Album mit dem spektakulären Helnwein-Cover. Die Single "No One Like You" und die "Blackout"- LP erreichen die Top Ten in den USA. Es gilt als das beste Hard Rock Album des Jahres und wird mit Platin ausgezeichnet.




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