15 April 2009

Do you really need all those pinball machines, Michael?

Whether it's a 3 1/2" high priceless Mesopotamian antiquity or a Bob Mackie headpiece made for Cher, WRJ Design Associates are the go-to team to make anything look like a million bucks. Besides being super talented, Rush Jenkins and his business partner Klaus Baer are the most down-to-earth, generous and handsome guys you could want to know. Am I fawning? OK, they also happen to be very dear friends (remember that Phyllis Diller drawing?).

One of the highlights of my Los Angeles trip a few weeks ago was visiting them while they set up the Michael Jackson sales exhibition for Julien's auctions. Now, I am not a huge MJ fan, but there was no way I was going to miss a peek into his "unusual" private life at Neverland. And when he sued the auction house to cancel the sale, it only increased my excitement to see what he was so eager to hold on to.

I was not disappointed, and neither will you be if you head over to the exhibition which is on view through April 25. (Click here for more details.) Unfortunately, you will not be able to bid on any of the items as MJ successfully negotiated with the auction house to stop the sale to both parties' benefit.

A few glimpses in case you are unable to hotfoot it over to L.A.....

Just like Napoleon or any other sovereign, MJ, the self-dubbed King of Pop, is totally on board with the power of portraiture to convey one's greatness. In the background is a triptych of MJ's coronation.

The abs on this console table are not of steel, but bronze

Several limousines are offered in the sale, including this stretch Bentley. (N.B. the life-size wax mannequins of a butler and policeman - just two of the dozens offered for sale which resided at Neverland)

the limo is complete with an ormolu-mounted interior

As we all know, MJ welcomed many children to the ranch and accrued an astonishing collection of arcade games, perhaps the world's largest in private hands. Movie memorabilia is also well represented, with MJ's particular penchant for Disney evident.

Below is an animated diorama of Gepetto's workshop measuring almost 8 feet tall

Don't miss the little MJ in the center right - see the close up below....

My friend Kelli and I both voted for our "Most Creepy" favorites. The winners:

Just one of many versions of this disturbing red-headed doll

a life size Bruce Lee.

What you can't see in the photograph are the red claw marks across his chest.

Photos #1-5 © Stefan Studer Photography courtesy of WRJ Design Associates, LLC.


Rose C'est La Vie said...

Blimey! The Michael Jacksonalia is fascinating and frightening in equal measures. You just know that you would have been seduced by all this as a kid. I can't help being enchanted by the ormulu limo, ouch.

Pigtown*Design said...

that just gives me the creeps!!

Andrew McKeon said...

Great post! You've shown how truly 'Off The Wall' MJ really is!

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Indeed. While touring the exhibition, we were struck by his phenomenal body of work and his great talent AND how strange his life has become. Most of the items are not in great condition and it's fascinating that he would go to court twice to get them back.

Janet said...

That plateau looks like it is on steroids! (As opposed to everything else...?) Saw the segment on the Today show last week and got a sneak peek then ~ it is great to see a bit more here. I can't imagine how awful it must feel to have one's life laid bare like that ~ so I guess I can understand MJ's reluctance to let it all go.

Unknown said...

The opportunity for everyone to see the peronal items both memorablia and personal is quite something. Even the tour bus he traveled in is now available for visitors to see. It's fascinating. One of my favorites is larger than life Darth Vader, sound and all, built from Legos! To see extensive photos of the exhibit you can visit www.wrjassociates.com

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Rush, That Darth Dader is something. I was really tickled to see the Hans Solo in carbonite that was from the Empire Strikes Back.

Unknown said...

Em. The Hans Solo thing is very cool. I love the original Edward Scissor Hands! But best...his gloves and jeweled broaches, patches and pins. Something else!
Then there are the creepy things like demon looking "Annie" dolls with red hair. Really, really creepy. As for the furniture...well let's just say there is something for EVERYONE! His taste in furniture is all over the place from simple American country to incredibly gilt and ornate 18th Century style furniture mixed with carved rosewood furniture from Asia.

But here is a view into MJ's psyche...he had over 30 or more life size mannequins of staff ranging from butlers, maids, cooks, chauffeurs and the like throughout his house sprinkled here and there with your least favorite Aunt Gertrude and Martha lurking in the corners! Not someething you want to experience on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night!

Anonymous said...

I cant close my mouth..... it is more fantastically "OUT THERE" then I would ever have imagined !! Historically Im thinking.. first there was the big crazy queer King Ludwig of Bavaria and he really knew from tacky! Then many, many, years later in a place called "Never Land" on an infinitely tackier scale there came to be another kind of super crazy (if not dangerous) uber queen, I mean King, called the King of Pop aka Michael Jackson. We really do live in such entertaining times.... don't we??