Michael Jackson’s chimpanzee Bubbles star of Miami art show
Michael Jackson’s former pet chimp Bubbles sold his artwork at a Miami gallery show on Friday (21Jul17).
The ape’s paintings were selling at prices ranging from $375 (£288) to $2,000 (£1,500) while on display at Frames USA & Art Gallery for the charitable Going Ape! art show.
Proceeds from the event will help support Florida’s Center for Great Apes, where Bubbles has been residing along with nearly 50 other primates who have been rehabilitating from a life of forced performance.
“I was invited three months ago to do a tour of the centre and it was there in the orientation centre where I saw a picture, a painting, of a chimpanzee who made something on paper,” gallery owner Adam Brand tells Channels Television of his inspiration for hosting the Going Ape! exhibition. “It didn’t dawn on me until the three-and-a-half-hour drive back to Miami where I said ‘wow, they’re talking about a whole expansion, fundraising, they needed money,’ and I said, ‘let’s do an art show’.”
Each canvas on sale at Going Ape! was painted by one of the primates who live Florida’s Center for Great Apes. The rehabilitation centre is in need of funds to expand housing and care for the animals, who due to their performance backgrounds and exposure to humans are too socialised to survive in the wild.
Although the art show was a hit, prospective buyers of the canvasses admitted they were tripped out by the thought of owning a piece painted by a chimp.
“The idea of looking at these paintings and you know on the one hand I say, ‘well isn’t this fascinating?’ but then on the other hand I say, ‘what else would you expect?’” Deana Litowitz, who was eyeing a painting by Bubbles, mused at the gallery.
This isn’t the first time the 34-year-old chimpanzee has caused a stir on the art scene – American pop artist Jeff Koons memorialised Bubbles’ unique relationship with the King of Pop in a controversial 1988 porcelain sculpture titled Michael Jackson and Bubbles.
The famous ape is also the subject of a forthcoming biopic about his life directed by Green Lantern actor Taika Waititi alongside animator Mark Gustafson. musicnews.com