02/2010, Goodwill Blue Hangar (near McNeil and 183)

A common trait in the world of high school art is what our curator calls “The assumption of meaning,” that the application of sufficient passion, traigos, or weirdness will transcend the walls between minds. Or more briefly, that making something strange also makes it interesting. (Antimichael), a staff favorite, captures this concept: clearly there is something subjectively deep at work.

The central figure in (Antimichael) glows with internal light, and his expression has something of the beatific to it, a pose that resembles the passion of Christ or a martyred saint. His coloration, though, is distinctly corpselike, with blue, frozen pallor and pale hair. The strange reversal of normal light and shadow—glowing dark surfaces, alien skin tones—suggest that the image might be reversed in color and luminosity like a photo negative. Testing this, we flipped the color of the image, at left. If anything, it becomes even more frightening.

The unofficial title (Antimichael) was left by a long-ago receptionist who felt the subject’s “80s” clothes resembled Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” costume. The red, glossy jacket is different in many ways from any of the pieces worn in that music video, but in the spirit of the Museum’s collection, we have always valued idiosyncrasy as much as, if not more than, accuracy.

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