Controversial artwork depicts Jackson as Michelangelo’s David, with a twist
by: James Di Fiore
The last word on Michael Jackson’s controversial relationship with children may be the painting that once adorned his wall at Neverland. Artist David Nordahl’s ‘Michael’ portrays the King of Pop as Michelangelo’s David, wearing nothing but a white sheaf hanging across his waist and surrounded by Putto angels – Greek mythological, naked child-angels who traditionally appear with gods of love, poetry and music.
There is an aroma of cheap irony in the context of the painting and why it is being released. The work itself is not impressive, a mediocre attempt at presenting the pop icon as immortal and flanked by the precise symbols of his life’s most damaging chapter. Nordahl told the New York Post that Jackson approved the piece. “(he) thought it was great with a little ‘tongue-in-cheek’ flavor,” said Nordahl. Apart from the unlettered play on words in his quote, the overriding consensus is that this is the latest in a long line of commercial vampires looking to cash in on Michael’s death. For some, the art will add to the mystery of Michael’s private lifestyle and outlook on children and himself.
The discussion concerning Jackson’s lifestyle polarizes pop culture, creating two differing camps of perfectly irrational individuals. The first camp consists of dogmatic worshippers, incapable of seeing Jackson as a possible pedophile and determined to set the record straight. They saw him is as a man with arrested development, unable to act like an adult and acting out by having platonic sleepovers with kids. The second group is comprised of pure haters, unable to see Michael Jackson as anything other than an unpunished pedophile, receiving a free ride due to his unparalleled celebrity status. Both think they have a point, and this latest representation of Jackson serves as a tacky, ironic hybrid of both those groups, each battling for an unrivalled position of being the authority over Michael’s overall persona.
Yet the painting was an intentional, commissioned piece financed by Michael himself, possibly one of the most egomaniacal self tributes by an artist not born in ancient times, if you include all of the previous iconic pieces the artist had accumulated over the years. Still, if the piece was intended to show Jackson as a man with an affinity with children, I think he more than missed the mark. If anything, this painting will further erode the King of Pop’s reputation and pit both camps against each other for generations to come.