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'Michael Jackson: On The Wall' exhibition is a must see

INSPIRATIONAL: Michael Jackson: On The Wall exhibition opens June 29 at the National Portrait Gallery, London

YOU MAY know how Michael Jackson inspired music, fashion, dance, video and popular culture - but his impact on contemporary art has often remained untapped – until now. From Keith Haring and Jeff Koons to Andy Warhol and Kehinde Riley, MJ's story and legacy continues to inspire.

This exhibition charts that through stages from his humble beginnings as the cute little kid in Jackson 5 to a mega star and his untimely death, using film, sculpture and various art forms to convey his impact and influence as the first global African American star to break barriers and transcend race.

Curated by Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, this major new exhibition spanning several generations of artists’ across all media coincides with what would’ve been Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday (August 29,2018) and launches the week that marks the ninth anniversary of his death (June 28).

The multimedia exhibition houses the works of 48 artists, including Hank Willis Thomas, Rita Ackerman, Rashid Johnson, Monster Chetwynd and many more, as they use their talents to share their take on the King of Pop.

Many of the themes explored throughout the exhibition examine the exploitation of Jackson by the public and the media, breaking cultural barriers as a black music artist and his relationship with creative including Andy Warhol and Kehinde Wiley.

An illuminating path by David LaChapelle (Photo credit: NPG

Speaking on the exhibition, Cullinan said: “Michael Jackson: On The Wall takes an entirely new and quite radical approach by exploring the cultural impact of a unique figure through contemporary art. All the artists included – despite coming from different generations and parts of the world, and employing a range of media – are fascinated by what Jackson represented and what he invented.”

“The exhibition breaks new ground for the National Portrait Gallery in its subject matter and the breadth and profile of the artists who have been invited to participate.”

One of the standout works includes a portrait created by Kehinde Wiley, which was the final portrait commissioned by the late star before his death in 2009.

The renaissance inspired painting entitled Equestrian Portrait of King Philip II, depicts Jackson as King Phillip II and reflects Wiley’s work which inserts African American’s into Western art history, to provoke the discussion of black people in society.

Wiley is known for his portraits of contemporary black sitters that draw on European art history and how black people maneuver in white spaces. But the one thing you can really take away from this exhibition, is the reminder that Jackson completely obliterated all barriers and limitations that were placed on the black male celebrity at that time and their ability to succeed and have that success replicated around the world.

Kehinde Wiley's Equestrian Portrait of King Philip II (Michael Jackson) Photo credit: NPG)

Whether we’re talking about film, fashion, music, TV, or art, his talent and inspiration knows no bounds and his ability to occupy in any creative space among any audience – whether in Lagos, Nigeria or Bucharest, Romania – reminds us all of his legacy.

Venture into the magical art history of Michael Jackson and you’ll be sure to discover another facet to the music legend that truly never dies.

Michael Jackson: On The Wall
28 June – 21 October 2018 at the National Portrait Gallery, London,
Tickets with donation from £17.50-£22
Tickets without donations from £15.50-£20
Jackson £5 ticket for 25s and under every Friday 10am – 21.00 (500 tickets available, first come, first served basis).
Free for Members and Patrons

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