Pop Culture: The Shifting Views of Michael Jackson

I’m trying to learn for my Art & Design class and I’m stuck. Can you help?

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  • To explore how a pop culture icon’s significance is reflected through different artist’s works.
  • Discuss crossovers between the categories of pop culture, fine art and craft
  • Use your investigative skills to support your ideas.


1. Read the article The Shifting Views of Michael Jackson (Links to an external site.) by Thomas Chatterton Williams.

If you have trouble accessing the article you can view it here in a Word document Can 48 Artists in 14 Rooms Capture Michael Jackson.docx


2. You can view a short summary of the exhibition here (Links to an external site.)

3. Explain your reaction to at least one of the artworks in the article:

  • Do you like it? Why?
  • Do you not like it? Why?

4. Compare and contrast at least two artworks in the show.

Describe how they give “shifting views” of Michael Jackson.

Clue: think about issues of form and content.

How would you categorize the artists’ portrayals of Michael Jackson – are the artworks considered fine art, popular culture or craft?

Or more than one category? Explain why.

Include images of the works you discuss.

5. Near the end of the article, Williams mentions the mask-like quality of Jackson’s face. Do you think pop culture reinforces the idea of a mask?

How? Please be specific in your answers.

Assessment Criteria

Do you explain your reaction to at least one artwork in the article using specific references?

Do you compare and contrast at least two artworks in the article using specific references to form and content?

Is there descriptive evidence of why the two artworks that you compare and contrast give “shifting views” of Michael Jackson?

Do you explain the category (categories) that you would place the artworks into?

Do you offer an explanation about whether popular culture reinforces the issue masking or changing identity?

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