When Helmut Newton died in Los Angeles in 2004, he left behind a city that–for better or for worse–had become one of his most prominent subjects. There were his aerial shots of LA sprawl, nudes posed amongst palm fronds, and interior studies of the Chateau Marmont. The landscape inspired him, offering both aggressive beauty and a seedy underbelly. Newton’s work played often with these urban/human juxtapositions unique to his adopted city, yet no exhibit has been specifically dedicated to them–until now.
On June 26, Perry Rubenstein opens “Sex and Landscapes,” an exhibit that encompasses roughly three decades of Newton’s ouevre, and includes 40 large-scale works that range in subject from, of course, nudes to the untamed LA landscape. Newton’s wife and long-time collaborator, June Newton, served as an adviser to the curator and allowed access to the Newton estate. Her generosity enabled the show to reach fruition, but it was actually conceived by Newton himself, years before his death. As such, it’s not so much a retrospective of the man as it is a testament to the timelessness of his work against a backdrop of a notoriously unstable city. Newton’s images offer a sense of much needed calm despite their overgrown and twisted backdrops.
“Sex and Landscapes” opens in Hollywood at Perry Rubenstein on June 26 and runs through August 25. For more information visit Perry Rubenstein online.