The next few entries here are going to be a little different, but please bare with me. Back on April 19th, during my hiatus from posting, I had the opportunity to visit the display of Michael Jackson's collections that had been put up for auction, but removed from sale. You can read the whole story elsewhere, but basically, much of the contents of Neverland Ranch were to go on sale, then removed from sale when Jackson arranged to do 50 sell-out concerts in London. Though the auction was called off, Jackson's collections were still on public display for a couple of weeks.
I went to this preview with an eye towards seeing a collection in an unusual situation: it was gathered together to populate and decorate a private world, then wrenched out into public light for all to see, and judge, out of context. Michael Jackson was an amazing artist, and whatever else the case may be, he was clearly a troubled soul who, on some level, found solace in his collections. I'm offering up many more of the photos I took on that day than I had intended, to share the experience more fully. In this part one, we'll just take a look at the pieces exhibited outside.
First off, the display was inside the abandoned Robinsons May department store in Beverly Hills, next to the Beverly Hilton, giving it an odd feeling. The whole place had a look of rundown retail opulence. Below you see several of Jackson's vehicles, parked on top of the garage.
Autopia-like go carts.
My anonymous friend posed with the Neverland fire truck, by a giant watch/clock. Notice,not much care was taken to preserve items or display them well. See the watch parts sticking out of the cardboard box?
A detail of the fire truck.
Mini bikes and planters, beyond the watch.
A crest on the side of this classic car - MJJ for Michael Joseph Jackson, as I understand it. The masks of comedy & tragedy, plus a musical note.
Jackson apparently collected many, many of these bronze statues of children, so Neverland must have never looked empty. This was on the second weekend of the public display of these items, and there weren't many people there. I imagine the biggest fans all came on the first weekend.
There were two books with this quote there, I imagine from different gardens on the Neverland property.
A different book with a different quote.
Again, little attention paid to the care of the items on display.
All in all, it felt like walking among the abandoned relics of a Disneyland, in an overgrown, forgotten courtyard.
An odd juxtaposition created between a Neverland frame and graffiti artwork on the department store's exterior.
Water fountain with two levels - for adult & child to use at the same time.
A lot of the pieces there had a surprisingly amateurish look to them.
Note that hotel rooms at the Beverly Hilton looked over this unusual display. (I'd freak myself out imaging the statues were moving at night).
Many items were in an advanced state of disrepair. Was this all since Jackson left after the trial?
Again, Neverland art with graffiti on the department store.
Some very Fantasia-esque cherubs on a goodbye sign.
In fancollectorgeek, I like to stay away from negative observations, but I have to say this public display felt, well, creepy. It may be too obvious to say the many, many statues suggest to me a fear of being alone. At the same time, it was kind of sad to see all this stuff that had been so cherished just unbolted and moved to be put on the auction block.
Next: inside, looking at Michael's collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia. (Don't worry folks, more Big Bang Theory to come soon - and I'm not forgetting all you Restaurant ROw fans).