"The Child: Works by Gottfried Helnwein" features a major theme that has appeared in his work over the last thirty-five years. For Helnwein, the child is the symbol of innocence, but also of innocence betrayed. In today’s world, the malevolent forces of war, poverty, and sexual exploitation and the numbing, predatory influence of modern media assault the virtue of children. Robert Flynn Johnson, the curator in charge of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, has assembled a thought-provoking selection of Helnwein’s works and provided an insightful essay on his art in this exhibition catalogue.
Helnwein’s work concerning the child includes paintings, drawings, and photographs, and it ranges from subtle inscrutability to scenes of stark brutality.