If Michael Jackson were to walk through the halls of London’s National Portrait Gallery this month, he would see a lot more than one man in the mirror. Timed to coincide with what would have been the King of Pop’s 60th birthday (August 29), Michael Jackson: On the Wall (June 28–October 21) displays oil paintings, collages, silkscreens, and photographs from more than 40 artists.
“Michael Jackson was one of the most influential cultural figures of the 20th century, and his legacy continues into the 21st,” says associate curator Lucy Dahlsen. “What all the artists, established and emerging, have in common—and what unites them in the exhibition—is that they are all fascinated by what Jackson represented and what he invented.”
The show’s centerpiece is Kehinde Wiley’s Equestrian Portrait of King Philip II (Michael Jackson), the last work Jackson commissioned for his personal collection—though he didn’t live to see its completion. British artist Graham Dolphin made two pieces for the exhibit, incorporating the covers of Thriller and Off the Wall, while ceramicist Grayson Perry crafted a vase covered with drawings, texts, photographic transfers, and glazes that form an image of Jackson. And, of course, there will be Technicolor works from Andy Warhol, who portrayed Jackson on the cover of Interview in 1982 and Time in 1984, proving that the King of Pop—and his legacy—are anything but “Black or White.”