Andy Warhol’s Michael Jackson portrait goes up for auction. Can print media be saved?

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Michael Jackson may be gone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still make money off his stuff. For nearly two months now, people have been cashing in on MJ memorabilia—from autographs to t-shirts printed up in the wake of the singer’s sudden death. A Spanish company, the one that did the Titanic exhibition, is even in talks with estate reps to take more than 120 of Jackson’s possessions on world tour.

And now the latest big-ticket item: a Michael Jackson painting by Andy Warhol. It’s one of five Warhol did after being asked by Time to come up with an image for a cover story on the then-25-year-old music star (so we’re talking 1984). The one Time wound up using had a yellow background and was later gifted to the National Portrait Gallery.

How short-sighted!

Perhaps, had we known the direction news publishing would take, we would have held onto our Warhol. Because the one with the green background reportedly just sold for more than a million dollars. (Although accounts of the sale—to a “speculator” who immediately handed it back to the gallery—make me wonder if there isn’t something a little weird going on. Since we’re talking about the intersection of Andy Warhol and Michael Jackson, I guess something a little weird wouldn’t be altogether inappropriate.)

Anyway, I am now curious to know what ever happened to that Shepard Fairey portrait of Obama we used for the 2008 Person of the Year cover. Fairey’s original Obama “Hope” collage was recently donated to the National Portrait Gallery by the lobbyists Tony and Heather Podesta. I’m hoping we held onto ours this time around. Given 25 years, it might prove to be a great investment.