The search for the Good life at the Harn museum of Art Alysia Amato

The Harn Museum of Art currently features over 10,000 art pieces (Harn Museum, 2017). Each piece has a different story to tell about the human experience. I have chosen four pieces that I believe capture one of the four themes that would help us to think about the good life. The themes consist of medium of the art / technique of the artist, design of the museum, art and core values, and finally art and the good life.

Upon entering the museum, one could visualize entering something sacred. Surrounded by a fountain made of tile and greenery, ones entrance becomes whimsical, bringing a clear and curious state of mind to its visitors.

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen."

― Leonardo da Vinci

To me, the Old Man's Cloth represents beauty in the things that most of us see as disposable and useless. It gives the items a purpose and captures the idea that the things we throw away can be meaningful to someone else. The bottle caps and aluminum pieces are manipulated to create a mosaic of something people can see as attractive. In this case, he chose to create a cloth that represents wealth in his culture. I believe he created this piece to criticize the wealthy for over consumption. He expresses to us that the things that we find useless, but are vital to the functionality of something that we don’t pay much attention to, matter. Bottle caps represent the small things in life that make up the bigger picture which is what makes the cloth shown below. Being able to see the artwork in person helps the viewer make a deeper more meaningful connection with the piece. It has allowed me to appreciate the piece more and caused me to really take my time to analyze the piece.

Amato, Alysia. "Old Man's Cloth by El Anatsui". January 9, 2017. JPEG file.

Design of the Museum

All Photos belong to Alysia Amato

The architecture of a museum is an important aspect in creating a way for visitors to feel connected to the pieces. It also helps to create a more visually appealing and cohesive piece to visitors. It lets one feel as if they have escaped to the artworks origin. The simple design of a museum allows the artwork to have the attention. I chose this specific exhibit because the wooden ceilings and flooring really captured the natural aspect of the art. The window with a view of a garden gave the room life and made my experience feel tranquil. It just felt very natural upon entering the specific exhibit. The exhibit used natural light to illuminate the art, playing an important yet subtle part in the architecture in the room. The room was filled with a relaxing and tranquil ambiance. It truly helped the art come to life.

Art and Core Values

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

― Edgar Degas

This specific piece spoke to me about finding our purpose in life. In the description it says that the artist incorporates bone fragments in her sculpture meaning to represent that life is not eternal. Therefore, we should go whole heartedly towards the things we want out of life and share our gifts with the world. She wants us to find our purpose. She chose to sculpt the things that she enjoys in life. It's a visual representation of her life and it makes me think about what I want to achieve in my life.

Amato, Alysia. "II-06-94 by Nancy Graves". January 9, 2017. JPEG file

Art and the good life

“Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.”

―Leonardo da Vinci

Amato, Alysia. "Family - Agustin Cardenas". January 9, 2017. JPEG file

In todays society we are taught to be independent. We perceive that the less reliant we are on our family, the more successful we are in life and with that life we expect to be happy. However, that is not the case. We have become so absorbed in the things we do to be "successful" that we forget the things that matter most. To me, strong bonds and family matter most. In the book Tuesdays with Morrie, explaining the meaning behind life, Morrie says that we are unsatisfied with our lives because we come back from work with no self improvement. We've gained nothing except possessions, but those possessions don't fill us inside. In order to be truly content, he says we need love. This sculpture resembles the theme that life is about love. Human beings are social creatures. We need that interaction to be satisfied. Just like H. Harlow's monkeys, from birth we grasp on to our mothers for comfort and those early interactions help us develop into healthy beings.

Created By
Alysia Amato


All photos belong to Alysia Amato

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