An art exhibition inspired by Michael Jackson opened Tuesday in Helsinki, the organizers claiming it was not a “celebration” of the singer, who still suffers allegations of abuse ten years after his death.
The show of 90 works first hung in London’s National Portrait Gallery in 2018 to widespread critical acclaim. It then toured in Paris and Bonn before coming to Helsinki.
“Michael Jackson: On the Wall” brings together old and new works illustrating the iconic pop star and its impact on popular culture, artists such as Andy Warhol, American photographer David LaChapelle and British potter Grayson Perry.
The German and Finnish broadcasts follow a series of allegations that Jackson has treated and sexually assaulted children, detailed in the 2018 documentary “Finding Neverland”
The exhibition will nevertheless run in the Finnish capital “as planned”, organisers said, with a text at the entrance acknowledging that “current conversations may have changed the way the exhibition is interpreted”.
“This exhibition and these artists are not celebrating Michael Jackson, but analysing his meaning in our culture , We can’t shy away from these difficult subjects and we of course condemn all kinds of abuse, But we also want to provide a platform for open discussion and for artists’ voices,” Arja Miller, chief curator at Espoo Museum of Modern Art.
Arja Miller, chief curator at Espoo Museum of Modern Art said some organizations refused to sponsor the exhibition over concerns about the controversies surrounding the singer, despite not having seen the show.
“I’m convinced that if everyone would have seen the exhibition the Many of the Jackson-inspired works veer between the gaudy and the grotesque, including an oversized golden statue of the megastar with his pet chimpanzee, Bubbles, by Paul McCarthy.y’d gladly be our partner because the exhibition is so diverse.”
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13 November, 2019