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On the wall: London’s National Portrait Gallery to stage major Michael Jackson exhibition


The National Portrait Gallery, London, has announced what’s set to be a blockbuster exhibition exploring artworks portraying and inspired by the legendary singer Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson: On the Wall, which will take place between June and October 2018 in London before travelling to France, Germany and Finland, analyses the scope of influence Jackson has had on art and culture.

Some 40 artists’ works will be on display, including pieces by Andy Warhol, Grayson Perry, David LaChapelle, Isa Genzken, Yan Pei Ming and Rita Ackerman, as well as some specially commissioned works. The event celebrates what would have been the 60th birthday of the “King of Pop” on 29 August.

“Michael Jackson’s significance is widely acknowledged when it comes to music, music videos, dance, choreography and fashion, but his impact on contemporary art is an untold story; one that has not been recognised with an international loan exhibition such as this,” said a statement from the museum.

“The exhibition will not only ask why so many contemporary artists have been drawn to Jackson as a subject, but also why he continues to loom so large in our collective cultural imagination. It will explore the impact and influence of Jackson on contemporary artists and the continued interest in him as a major cultural figure.”

Michael Jackson: On the Wall runs at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 28 June to 21 October 2018; the Grand Palais, Paris, from November 2018 to February 2019; the Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, from March to July 2019; and Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland, from August to November 2019.

The exhibition was curated by Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, with co-operation from of the Michael Jackson Estate.

The gallery will be hoping next year’s exhibit will help boost attendance figures, which fell 9 per cent in 2016, to 1.95 million from 2.15 million the previous year.

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