20 April 2009

the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright creepy (king of pop week at m21!)

as you all might know, maison21 spent a couple hours last week perusing the the contents of michael jackson's neverland estate. the auction, scheduled for this week but unfortunately auction was canceled. we still don't understand WHY it was called off- we know MJ sued to stop it, but it sure looked to us as if he must have been cooperating with the auction house at some point. oh well, another bizarre twist in his bizarre story.

the location couldn't have been more fitting for the event- an abandoned robinson's-may department store, awaiting demolition to be turned into luxury condos and a boutique hotel (you, know, 'cuz we rully need more of those). the sense of dilapidation and decay- weed and pothole filled parking lot, leading to a rundown courtyard filled with the massive collection of life sized bronze "children playing" statues- set the tone for what might have been billed as the creepiest garage sale of all time. we don't know if it was just our preconceptions going into the exhibit or not, but the smell of remorse, mental illness and moral decay was almost palpable. we felt like DSM manuals, not auction catalogs should be offered for sale upon entry! the actual 5 catalog boxed set was for sale on site- for 200 bucks, twice the price it was before the auction was canceled! (not that we really wanted a set anymore after actually viewing the estate's contents- yuck).

we took hundreds of pictures- literally- and have whittled them down to about 50 (the abysmal splendor of it all made the cuts difficult ;-). we're unsure how to separate them into individual posts either, so we've kind of randomly divided them into the "the good","the bad", "the ugly" and "the downright creepy". no easy task to categorize, as while it was easy to select the good (not so much of that), so much of the rest combined "bad, ugly and creepy" all into one sick package, so just roll with us on our justifications, k?
first of all, let's get "the good" out of the way- by far the best thing was the graphic design of the exhibition- lots of crisp black and gold graphics with giant back-lit scrims, emblazoned with photos of MJ in his prime. the central area of the exhibit was near pitch black, with spotlit memorabilia and a blasting jumbo screen of MJ video clips. it served as an effective reminder of why the "king of pop" (oy) ever deserved the public's attention to begin with. at one point, before he devolved into a creepy celebrity caricature, he was an incredibly charismatic performer, and the early music still stands up- we've been humming past hits ever since (we've always wondered though, if the quality of the his late 70's- early 80's music owed more to quincy jones than to michael himself).above, one of the well-designed backdrops, and also an illustration of how hard it is to categorize any of our photos, as in front of the backdrop sits the worlds largest franklin mint dungeons and dragons chess set. that set pretty much underscores the running theme of the exhibit- bad taste & too much money, combined with ego run amok. we can't imagine how much the gaudy monstrosity cost, and why anyone would feel the need to spend so much $$$ on something so not well done...
more scrims, and of course the glove. love it or hate it, it is an icon of pop culture. now here's where things get a little easier- picking out the the two or three things we actually liked from the crazy mish-mosh of MJ's possessions. you know we wanted to bid on this gilt rooster, and if it had sold at it's pre-auction estimate of $100-$200, we would have been thrilled to get it (though it's a bit gaudier in person then we had hoped- surprise, surprise!). and who doesn't like a 1970's ram's head table? maison21 has sold a few over the years himself (scary though, to think our taste and MJ's have anything in common).
MJ rams:
m21 rams:

one of the striking things about the exhibit is all the larger than life paintings of MJ. some appear to be amateur fan tributes, but lot were obviously commissioned. this black and white number reminds us of a longo, so graphically it's kinda cool. still, who wants a 6 foot portrait of themselves hanging in their home? such ego and hubris- an unchecked grandiosity/narcissistic complex, to be sure (told ya a DSM would be handy).
last we liked this pair of empire style etageres- gaudy, yes but pretty dramatic too, and in the right space, they could rock. we're quite sure that neverland was not that right space and you will be too when post our next installment of "king of pop week", "the bad", featuring some incredibly fugly furnishings. check back tomorrow!

10 comments:

mary said...

Did you have to take a shower the minute you got home? Such a sad, sad slide down the rabbit hole.

(but can't wait to see more)

YSLGuy said...

What an odd mixture of stuff. I can't wait to see more.

Jill said...

I still like the cock...

Tracy said...

I totally agree with you, from what I have seen in print and in various other media, that whoever is responsible for the graphic design of the catalogs and advertising as well as the displays at the auction house did a really beautiful job trying to make all that crazy crap look good. Can't wait to see more.
And while I think your layman's psych evaluation of MJ is probably pretty right on, I'd love to hear from someone in the mental health biz, who's toured that exhibit, and can tell us what is/was really wrong with that man. At least from the standpoint of his creepy/sad/tasteless/just plain weird collections.

midcenturyjo said...

A thriller! One vote for a set on flickr please when you are done dissecting them here.

lady jicky said...

I am telling you ---- you are so lucky to have not bought that Rooster --- its so HOT that they have to have a fire extinguisher right next to it!!!

The TownhouseLady said...

M21 go over to the Mog Blog and check out the table base. You're gonna get a chuckle.

Moi said...

Check out the Mogg Blogg. Their post for April 21 has that rams head table . . . doh!

ArchitectDesign said...

it's all bizarre...a golden cock...somehow i'm intrigued!
shockingly the stuff in the last photo isn't 1/2 bad (but i'm sure it was scary in person).

tula said...

your description of walking up to the building should be the beginning of a novel or maybe a horror movie. j'dore!

can't wait for more, darling!!!