Gottfried Helnwein looks more like a rock star than an internationally acclaimed artist. Dressed all in black, with a bandanna around his head and dark glasses hiding his eyes, he resembles, in a superficial way, Bono. Like Bono, he is concerned about the most troubling issues of our times: violence, inhumanity and oppression.
There is a cinematic quality to all of Helnwein's works, which seem to be projected on a wide screen. These "stilled cinematic moments," as Crocker curator Diana Daniels calls them, are powerfully affecting. "He deals with difficult subjects in a way that isn't propagandistic," Daniels said. "It's an open-ended way of dealing with historic subjects that are in danger of slipping away from us." Many of the images are very disturbing, and the museum has issued a warning that some images may be challenging for sensitive or younger viewers. But the show is a powerful one, posing questions we all need to contemplate.