Insights / Headlines

BY Andrew Goldstein on June 26, 2009
Hank Willis Thomas' "Time Can Be a Villain or a Friend," a glimpse of how Jackson might have aged had he not undergone plastic surgery. ; Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery

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As a figure who shifted shape so dramatically over his career, earning the adoration and ridicule of fans around the world, Michael Jackson was a natural muse for contemporary artists. More than any other pop star since Elvis, Jackson embodied the core confusions of American identity--race, sexuality, and the dark wages of celebrity. To mark his passing, ArtWeLove has assembled a look back on some of the King of Pop's more memorable appearances in art. (Though we can't include it here, look up John Waters' 2006 sculpture "Playdate" for one of the stranger takes.) If you know of other Michael Jackson works, email andrew@artwelove.com and we'll add them to the list.

Andy Warhol's 1984 portrait of Jackson was the cover of *Time* magazine on March 19, 1984. ; Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

Banksy's 2006 painting shows Jackson luring children to a Brothers Grimm version of Neverland. ; Via metro.co.uk

Paul McCarthy's "Michael Jackson Fucked Up (Big Head)" (2002) sold for $2,210,500 at Christie's in fall 2008. ; Via Christie's

Terence Koh's "African Michael Jackson" (2008) imagines what Jackson might have looked like today had he embraced his African heritage. ; Via supertouchart.com

Jeff Koons' iconic "Michael Jackson and Bubbles" (1988), shown here on display at Versailles in 2008, stands at the height of creepy kitsch. ; Via daylife.com

Mark Flood's "Michael and E.T." (1985). ; Courtesy of the collection of Daniel McDonald

This 1995 portrait of Jackson was one of the thousands of artworks from Neverland that the late star put up for auction earlier this year to pay off his enormous debts. ; Via mirror.co.uk

Watch Candice Breitz's 2005 "King (A Portrait of Michael Jackson)":

Candice Breitz: King (A Portrait of Michael Jackson), 2005/2006, clipping from Mary Scherpe on Vimeo.


Watch Meredith Danluck's "Michael Jackson, Jesus Christ… Coca-Cola" (2007) (click here to read about its making here):

Michael Jackson, Jesus Christ... Coca Cola from michael jackson on Vimeo.

From the Article: Artists

Banksy
Jeff Koons
Andy Warhol
Terence Koh
John Waters
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