The King of Pop — a god?
That’s sort of the idea behind “The Cult of Michael Jackson,” a deity-themed “church” dedicated to the ultimate American icon at a Williamsburg gallery.
The man in the mirror on Jackson’s god-like status is Rusel Parish, whose exhibition doesn’t so much elevate Jackson to the heavens, but at least makes the artistic link between Jacko’s sequined glove and classic religious reliquary.
“I do not want to portray him as godlike,” Parish said. “It’s a discussion about how as a society we put figures on a pedestal. It’s probably a study of my own addiction.”
The 31-year-old transplant from Colorado knows that his obsession with Jackson is nothing compared to how the singer achieved god-like status around the world.
As a result, Parish’s exhibit explores that nearly universal devotion to the mercurial artist, whose metamorphosis over the years shocked and dismayed, but did little to shake the ardor directed his way.
Whether you identify with the young, innocent Michael or the older, more inscrutable one, the late moonwalker’s image remains instantly recognizable the world over.
“There are a few elements to him that people can latch onto easily,” Parish says. “You just know him by his silhouette.”
Spread out over two rooms, the “Chapel” at Figureworks is intended to afford devotees and the just plain curious with a place to come and contemplate MJ through faux-orthodox iconography and a “full line of dolls representing the reinvention of his life.”
You can also pick up some collectible soap, candles and T-shirts.
“‘The Cult of Michael Jackson’ transcends thousands of years of hate, war, and spiritual prisons of other religions; and instead brings the world into a new order: one of love, soul, funk and pop,” Parish said. “We could end the entire world’s suffering and we could literally blame it on the boogie.”
The Cult of Michael Jackson at Figureworks [168 N. Sixth St. between Bedford and Driggs avenues, (718) 486-7021] opens on Sept. 11. Gallery hours are Friday–Sunday, 1–6 pm.