Review Round Up: Michael Jackson: On the Wall, National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery celebrates the legacy the King of Pop had on contemporary art in this new exhibition. But what do the critics think? 

L-R:  Michael Jackson, 1984 by Andy Warhol, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D. C.; Gift of Time magazine; An illuminating path, 1998 by David LaChapelle. Courtesy of the artist; Untitled #13 (Elizabeth Taylor’s Closet), 2012 by Catherine Opie. Courtesy the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles. 

The Guardian: **** ” He was an inspiration, a model, a tragedy. I have never thought about him so much as in the last 24 hours, and shall never think of him again as I did before. That is a measure of this exhibition.”

The Telegraph: **** “For millions around the world he is an idol, the ultimate personification of glamour. For another, equally substantial constituency he’s far from heroic: a beautiful African-American man who – while protesting his black pride – denied his identity at every turn, becoming a grotesque, self-mutilated projection of American show-biz values at their most destructive.”

Time Out: ***** “Not everything here is brilliant, but as a whole, this exhibition is an incredible example of using art to decode, uncover and reveal myriad concepts and ideas. This is a show about fame and obsession, about how desperately we seek idols and how remorselessly we consume them.”

Evening Standard: ** “The show is confused. Visual traditions all jostle together: pop, conceptual, post pop, post-conceptual, and plain commercial. For all the talk in the catalogue of the sheer visceral impact Jackson’s own art had, the art here is rarely comparable.”

Londonist: ***** “The Michael Jackson name is enough to sell tickets to this exhibition and the National Portrait Gallery could have thrown a lazy exhibition together to pull in the punters. Instead they have gone much further and created an exhibition that touches on much bigger societal themes, ensuring the show has both style and substance.”

Michael Jackson: On the Wall is on display at the National Portrait Gallery from the 28th June. For more information visit:




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