08 July 2009

Encountering Jacko at Versailles

This week the world buried a beloved icon:  Michael Jackson, 50.  He will never again visit his once-beloved home at Neverland

Like everyone else, I know and love his music. But it is impossible to ignore the singularly, flagrantly, creatively, self absorbed visual phenomenon that was also Michael Jackson. He wrote songs and music; he choreographed himself brilliantly. He won over the whole world. 

But that was not enough. He turned his artistic vision literally upon himself and the result was that at 50 he had a face and body that had been artfully re-created to his own will. {What was that rigid and sadly unexpressive mask hiding?}

Michael Jackson and Bubbles at Versailles
Photo by Kit Golson

When I went to visit the Chateau of Versailles last September with friends who live just around the corner from there, it seemed a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon in the middle of a very busy design trip. 

To my astonishment, the venerable old rooms and halls held installations by American pop-artist Jeff Koons. Along with metal dogs and inflatable lobsters in the ornate palatial apartments I found this poignantly sweet ceramic sculpture of Michael Jackson and his beloved chimp, Bubbles.

It is fitting that this is the closest I ever came to Michael Jackson, and that I found him at the Chateau of Louis XIV. For Michael himself was the King of Pop, and the spooky, lonely and majestic halls of Versailles---the glittering Neverland of its time---suited him perfectly. 

A Gloomy Day at Chateau de Versailles
Photo by Kit Golson

Gate at Chateau of Versailles


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  1. Wow. I don't remember seeing that sculpture during our visit a few years ago. Very cool and appropriately placed at Versailles.

  2. I think it was just there for a month or two...amazing to see at Versailles!


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