Titled “Helmut Newton – Fact & Fiction,” the exhibit is curated by Philippe Garner, Matthias Harder and Tim Jefferies in collaboration with the Helmut Newton Foundation, which was established by the artist in 2003.
It will open in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, about 20 minutes away by car from the fast fashion epicenter of Arteixo, where Inditex is headquartered. This marks the third exhibit backed by Ortega Pérez, who has worked to make the town a new cultural center, following presentations devoted to photographers Peter Lindberg and Steven Meisel.
“To be able to work with photographers whose picture making I have long admired is a great privilege. I do so not simply with the ambition to enrich the cultural life of A Coruña, but also in the hope that future generations of image makers will find their own inspiration in the work of these remarkable photographers,” said Ortega Pérez.
“Helmut Newton is one of that celestial band of photographers whose images are instantly recognizable as their own. Newton’s own great revolutionary act was to utterly change the ways in which women were portrayed in the pages of glossy magazines. Here were women who enjoyed style and fashion, who enjoyed the power and splendor of their bodies, women who were elegantly seductive and untouchable. His photographs were not only of his time but far ahead of his time — he spectacularly set the scene for those photographers who followed him,” she added.
Born in Berlin in 1920 to a Jewish family, in 1938 at the age of 18 Newton fled his hometown and traveled to Asia and later to Australia. He began his career in London before he hit early success in the ’70s, primarily thanks to his work being published in French Vogue.
His work — some of it iconic, some of it controversial — was oftentimes divisive during his lifetime.
The exhibition will tell the story of the man behind the work with a series of videos showing Newton at work and in conversation; personal images providing insights into his childhood, career and partnership with his wife June, and further documents, posters, cameras and equipment, props, intriguing artifacts, and memorabilia.
Some of his “Big Nudes” portrait series will be on display, including Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Margaret Thatcher, Charlotte Rampling, Elsa Perretti, Daryl Hannah, Jerry Hall, Naomi Campbell, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld.
His lesser-known works from his outdoor photography will also be shown, including photos from locations as varied as Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
The MOP Foundation’s Peter Lindbergh exhibit in 2021 attracted more than 100,000 visitors, while the Steven Meisel in 2022 drew more than 130,000 visitors to A Coruña.
The exhibitions act as a fundraiser for the Marta Ortega Pérez Foundation’s programs, which it devotes to educational programs across the region centered on each photographer’s work which have so far reached 9,000 students.
Following the Lindberg exhibit, Zara launched a five-piece collection featuring some of his most famous black-and-white snaps, including Kate Moss, Amber Valletta and Linda Evangelista, in 2021.
Earlier this year Meisel launched a 26-piece capsule collection, which was presented in New York, and were available at a pop-up during fashion week there, as well as Dover Street Market in London. He also shot the campaign for the brand with famous faces including Gigi Hadid, Kaia Gerber, and Irina Shayk, as well as Evangelista and Valletta.
If the pattern holds, perhaps we should expect a Helmut Newton collab with the high street brand soon.
The exhibit will run from Nov. 18 to May 1, 2024.