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Kitsch or Art? Critics take on MJ statue
The BBC put a lot more effort into the debate on the artistic merit of this ugly thing than it could possibly deserve:
A controversial statue of the late Michael Jackson, commissioned by Fulham FC owner Mohamed Al Fayed, has been unveiled at the club's Craven Cottage ground in west London.
Louisa Buck, contemporary art correspondent for The Art Newspaper:
It's a spectacularly bad piece of kitsch that doesn't even look all that much like Michael Jackson. It's quite flattering actually. It makes him look less weird facially than he was at the end of his life. It's from his kind of vaguely handsome period. What's Michael Jackson got to do with Fulham, except that once he was dragged onto the pitch when he visited a match? It's just one man's vanity gesture really. A work of art is whatever anybody says is a work of art. It's a sculpture, it's an art work but, to my mind, it's almost so bad it's almost good.
The thing is, it's a spectacular piece of kitsch. But, as Jeff Koons has proved, in certain contexts puppy dogs and, in fact, images of Michael Jackson can become multi-million selling artworks. But it's all a matter of context - that's the thing. One person's kitsch is another person's art work, but this is just quite creepy and nasty.
I imagine Fulham football supporters are a bit bemused. This guy once walked onto their pitch so why is there a sculpture there? He never even moonwalked.
Pixie Andrew, curator of Will's Art Warehouse:
I think local people have the potential to be switched on to art if stimulated in the right way. So many people fear that they are required to have some knowledge of the arts in order to visit a gallery. In fact, we need art to be viewed by a wider audience to understand the potential cultural and social effects.
This piece at Fulham football ground is a classic example of an art work that will provoke a reaction from a wide audience. I think it is important to place art work in unusual contexts to be culturally provocative. Consider the debates that the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square generates.
As for the piece itself, I am not sure that it is important to consider whether it is a likeness or not, but rather consider why Fulham FC have decided to have it there and to enjoy an unusual piece of contemporary art placed in an unusual way. It carries both humour and sentiment and makes reference to the impact of the notion of our "super-stars" amongst society.
Fisun Guner, art critic for The Arts Desk website
I don't know what it's made of but it's basically a blown-up, vaguely look-a-like doll. I'm sure you'll be able to get a version of one in Toys R Us very soon. It certainly looks as if his plasticky limbs were too stiff to co-ordinate properly so he's doing a bit of a constipated, Metal Mickey dance.
When I first saw it, it made me laugh. But I expected it to look exactly as it does because, obviously, Mr Al Fayed is a man of great taste and minimalist restraint. However, I have a strong feeling that Michael would have simply loved it. I imagine he might have had at least five copies made and had them dotted around Neverland, amongst all the junk Versailles furniture he was so keen to buy in bulk.
So it's perhaps a fitting tribute after all - though I'm glad I don't have to look at it more than once.