How does someone become an icon? London’s National Portrait Gallery sets out to discover how the pop music legend made his mark on the artistic imagination and how he influenced some of the leading names in contemporary art, spanning several generations of artists across all media. The exhibition titled “Michael Jackson: On the Wall” curated by National Portrait Gallery Director, Dr. Nicholas Cullinan, coincides with the artist’s 60th birthday (29 August 2018). It features works from 48 different artists, including Grayson Perry, Kehinde Wiley, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Faith Ringgold and David LaChapelle.

Michael Jackson is one of the most influential cultural figures to come out of the 20th century and his legacy continues into the 21st century. His significance is widely acknowledged when it comes to music, music videos, dance, choreography and fashion, but his considerable influence on contemporary art is an untold story. Since Andy Warhol first used his image in 1982, Jackson has become the most depicted cultural figure in visual art by an extraordinary array of leading contemporary artists. This exhibition brings together the works of over 40 of these artists, drawn from public and private collections around the world, including new works made especially for the exhibition.

“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. It’s also about how much impact one person can have on the world. That’s the true power of Michael Jackson: the way he makes you feel”, says Time Out.

The exhibition ends on 21 October, 2018 and it will tour to The Grand Palais, Paris (November 2018 to February 2019), The Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn (March to July 2019) and Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland (August to January 2020).