Despite some backlash, Helnwein's work has enjoyed much critical acclaim. He has exhibited nationally and internationally at such institutions as the Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art, the Albertina Museum in Vienna, and the Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague. His work is also in various public and private collections, including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, and the Musee de I'Elysee in Lausanne. Last year, he received the Steiger Art Award, which honors figures who have shown directness, openness, humanitarianism, and tolerance. Throughout his career, he has maintained an impressive coterie of friends and patrons, including Sean Penn, Andy Warhol, Ben Kingsley, Marilyn Manson (who married Dita Von Teese in Helnwein's castle, where the host was the best man), William S. Burroughs, Norman Mailer, Lou Reed Arnold Schwarzenegger, land Lisa Marie Presley, to name just a few.