International Press2005-2004
November 20, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
Swells
Catherine Bigelow
Gottfried Helnwein at Modernism
Mod Squad: Gallerist Martin Muller promised, and delivered, a colorful evening celebrating "New Paintings," the latest exhibition by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein, at Modernism. Especially if you're seated between Helnwein and his friend-collector Marilyn Manson at Muller's Modernism West annex for a postshow repast created by the artisans of Foreign Cinema. But Helnwein and Manson are fascinating, articulate men who happen to create uncomfortable art.
Mod Squad: Gallerist Martin Muller promised, and delivered, a colorful evening celebrating "New Paintings," the latest exhibition by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein, at Modernism.
Especially if you're seated between Helnwein and his friend-collector Marilyn Manson at Muller's Modernism West annex for a postshow repast created by the artisans of Foreign Cinema.
"Just call me Manson," said the rocker, sporting a subdued version of his signature undead look. "I was a journalist once. But I got tired of too many boring interviews."
Hmm, I pondered. So my future is filled with face paint or this is going to a long, painful dinner ... for both of us.
But Helnwein and Manson are fascinating, articulate men who happen to create uncomfortable art. Manson even created his own movement -- Celebritarian Corp. -- which I shan't even attempt to interpret.
I pleaded similar ignorance of Helnwein's art, but was rewarded with a Bingo! moment, when I said his "Untitled" piece (featured on Martin's flyer) brought to mind a nightmarish version of "Alice in Wonderland."
Guess who plans to create a film about Lewis Carroll, with Manson in the starring role?
Helnwein lives in Ireland but paints in Los Angeles: "L.A. is a place for anarchy. It's a good place to create art." His countryman Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sometimes drops by. "It's seldom I meet a politician I actually like," said Helnwein, laughing. "Arnold operates on the naive belief that you can make something better. He reinvents stuff."
Beneath the floating, flitting images of Naomie Kremer's "Paint Moves," guests at the one long table included Helnwein's daughter, Mercedes; Austin Hills; Metallica's Lars Ulrich and his pal Steve Wiig; Chronicle Managing Editor Robert Rosenthal and his wife, Inka; and Margaret and Peter Allen. Manson hadn't met author/painter/bon vivant Barnaby Conrad but knew his work -- he gifts friends with Conrad's absinthe book.
Earlier Barnaby had quipped cleverly (natch) about his beloved "green fairy" elixir. Asking for a repeat, Conrad thought for a moment, then broke into a big grin. "I don't remember. And if you can't remember, that's definitely an 'absinthe' quote!"
Modernism Gallery, opening of the Helnwein show
2005




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