August 29 would have been Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday and to mark the occasion, a new exhibition has just been unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in London, entitled Michael Jackson: On the Wall.
Sponsored by Hugo Boss, the showcase brings together almost 100 portraits of Jackson that capture the King of Pop at different stages of his career, by over 40 artists, including Andy Warhol, Grayson Perry and David LaChapelle.
Included is the last portrait Jackson commissioned in 2010 by Kehinde Wiley, which features the singer as Philip II of Spain, as portrayed by Rubens in 1630. Sat on a horse and surrounded by adoring cherubs, it does little to dampen the accusation that Jackson had a Messiah complex (which is what reportedly prompted Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker to famously storm Jackson’s performance during the 1996 Brit Awards).
From Andy Warhol’s first portrait in 1982 to works by Keith Haring and Gary Hume (including the wonderfully overblown Dangerous album artwork by Mark Ryden), there is no denying the scope of the singers influence, across music, dance and choreography.
Focusing on Michael Jackson the artist, this show tries to go beyond just the moonwalk and glittering glove, and explore the sheer impact Jackson had on the world.