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German museum head defends Jackson exhibition amid abuse claims

Bonn (Germany) – The Head of a German art museum has defended upcoming exhibition on Michael Jackson amid child sexual abuse allegations against the deceased U.S. pop superstar.

Michael Jackson

“Especially now, when new abuse accusations have come to light, it’s important to reassess the ‘King of Pop,’” Rein Wolfs, Director at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, said on Wednesday.

Wolfs said that rather than being a homage, the exhibition showed Jackson from varying, “even critical, angles’’.

“I believe it’s better to have a platform that enables discussion rather than simply to extinguish a cultural memory,” Wolfs said.

The show, entitled “Jackson: On the Wall”, was developed by the National Portrait Gallery in London and produced in cooperation with the Jackson Estate.

Open in Bonn on Friday, the event features depictions of Jackson by prominent artists, including David LaChapelle and Yan Pei Ming, and has already been put on in London and Paris.

The accusations come from “Leaving Neverland”, a film in which two men – 40-year-old James Safechuck and 36-year-old Wade Robson – tell of how they were abused as children by the singer, who died in 2009.

The film has stirred discussion about how fans of Jackson should relate to his music, given the severity of the allegations.

In spite of the involvement of Jackson Estate in the exhibition, Wolfs said the museum would not shy away from questions about abuse allegations.

“An art expert will always be around, who can speak to visitors about the accusations,” 59-year-old Wolfs said.

There will also be a statement at the beginning of the exhibition regarding “Leaving Neverland”, reading: “The accusations made by the alleged victims are shocking.

“We see it as our responsibility not to ignore this issue.’’ (dpa/NAN)

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