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Michael Jackson and Bubbles
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Arty Fact

jtucker's picture

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Jeff Koons once said, "If I could be one other living person, it would probably be Michael Jackson."

What could it be about the troubled pop star Jeff admires so much? Is it the money, the fame, and the women that come with the territory? Unlikely since Koons' sculptures have brought in upwards of $58 million, he is one of the best known artists in history, and he used to be married to a porn star. So I would say he's got those goals on lock. While it's not clear why Koons feels such a kinship with the infamous MJ, it comes as no surprise that Koons has yet again decided to capitalize on the fame of others to bring himself notoriety. Well-played, Jeff.

In this sculpture, we see MJ hitting the classic Madonna and Child pose, but rather than embracing the child of God, Jackson has his pet chimpanzee perched upon him instead. Bubbles was one of Jackson’s closest companions, which doesn't surprise us considering Michael's...peculiarities. He adopted him from a research facility in the '80s. PETA enthusiasts rejoice! Bubbles and Jackson were inseparable, so much so that Bubbles even slept in a crib in MJ's bedroom, sat at the dinner table, attended parties with his master, and supposedly had his own bodyguard. Sadly, Bubbles was taken from Jackson for fear of the chimpanzee turning aggressive. You wouldn’t want an angry monkey running around Neverland Ranch throwing feces at the visitors now, would you? Those kids had enough to worry about.

This sculpture is part of Koon’s Banality series. Koons claims that the art in this series is supposed to evoke the feeling of "lying in the grass and taking a deep breath.” I don’t know about you, but a golden Jacko caressing a primate is not what pops into mind when I soak in the serenity of a grassy knoll. Quite frankly, I think this sculpture is freaky as all get out. Nonetheless, it was this series that propelled Koons to super stardom, so someone must be buying it.

And indeed, they are. There are three versions of this life-sized piece, one of which sold for $5.6 million in 1990 to a private collector. Whoever bought that one may have gotten a little stiffed on the price though. When Koons first released this piece, he priced it at $250,000. Now that’s a mark up!

Many critics of this piece have shunned it claiming that Jackson looks too white and feminine. Am I missing something? I thought that was a well known fact that Jackson skirted the boarder of androgyny with grace and poise...and race with bleach. But I suppose when entering the territory of Michael Jackson's reputation, there will always be haters, whether it be due to his skin color or his rumored fondness of little boys. We can't help but feel sorry for the buyers of this one when the pedophilia scandal hit. Time to tuck away your multi-million dollar investment in the garage!

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Michael Jackson and Bubbles

Michael Jackson and Bubbles is a porcelain sculpture (42 x 70.5 x 32.5 in) by the American artist Jeff Koons. It was created in 1988 within the framework of his Banality series.

Description

The life-size porcelain sculpture depicts the American singer-songwriter Michael Jackson leaning back on a flower bed. On his lap reclines his domesticated chimpanzee Bubbles who clasps a white cloth. Jackson and his pet form an optical unit. They wear similar clothing, are colored homogeneously and parts of their bodies are paralleled with each other, such as Jackson's right hand and Bubbles' paw. The sculpture has been arranged in a triangular and multi-perspective composition.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Michael Jackson and Bubbles.