Tour of the Harn Museum of Art Reanne Mathai


Being able to go to the Harn Museum of Art was an eye-opening experience for me. I was able to see a lot of really cool art pieces and learn how important art can be in expressing emotions, struggles, and points-of-view. I felt that the artist was able to communicate a message to me with each piece that I saw. It was absolutely incredible!

Ruth Bernard's "Classic Torso." Photo by Reanne Mathai

Medium/Technique of the Art

Me in front of Lee Krasner's "Primary Series: Blue Stone." Photo by Reanne Mathai
Lee Krasner's "Primary Series: Blue Stone." Photo by Reanne Mathai

One work that I found to be particularly striking in person was Lee Krasner's "Primary Series: Blue Stone." The technique of the piece was intriguing to me because it is said to resemble an inkblot test. Inkblot tests are usually used by psychologists to get a diagnosis for their patients. Each person is supposed to see something different. This is similar to art, especially abstract works like Krasner's. The technique of the painting emphasizes the freedom of interpretation associated with artwork. Seeing the painting in person allowed me to figure out what I saw in the work more easily and connect more personally to the message of the piece.

Design of the Museum

Me with pieces from the ceramics display. Photo by Reanne Mathai

One wing of the museum that stuck out to me particularly based on the design of it was the ceramics portion. The fact that all the vases and figures were in a cabinet made me feel like I was in my home admiring my fine china. The use of the cabinets also allowed there to be a lot of open space, which made it easy to get around. I also really liked the variety of ceramics that were on display. Usually, when I think of ceramics, I think of pots or vases. However, the teacups, plates, figurines, etc. were fantastic! Although I don't often associate ceramics with these types of items, I couldn't help but be in awe of how beautiful they were. The large amount of items added to the amazement as well. Finally, I also appreciated the map of where ceramics are made, the diagram of all the ceramics in the little picture on the wall, and the background information given beforehand. This way, I was able to preview the content of the displays.

Pieces from the ceramics wing. Photo by Reanne Mathai

Art and Core Values

Marilyn Minter's "Prism." Photo by Reanne Mathai

One painting that coincided with one of my core values was Marilyn Minter's "Prism." I strongly support people, especially women, that do not feel the need to change their appearance for other people. I think that we should be happy with the way we were made to be, no matter what we look like. In her painting, Minter emphasizes the ridiculousness of femininity standards. There is a pressure for women to look stereotypically beautiful every single day. As a result, many feel the need to cake on makeup and have the most in-style clothes possible. In exchange for "perfection," many women give up their happiness and the beautiful things they were born with that make them unique.

Me with Marilyn Minter's "Prism." Photo by Reanne Mathai

The work has a women with jewels coming out her mouth. This is supposed to be "erotic and excessive," much like what women are expected to be today. The work excludes most of the women's face and anything about her personal life. This helps show that most people do not care about women aside from their sexual image. Overall, Minter's painting makes me feel frustrated because I am reminded that this is an issue in our society. However, I also feel relieved that someone else recognizes it as a problem and is doing something to make others aware as well.

Art and the Good Life

Eija-Lilsa Ahtila's "Scenographer's Mind VIII." Photo by Reanne Mathai

A work that I thought depicted the good life was Eija-Lilsa Ahtila's "Scenographer's Mind VIII." This photograph depicts a young woman with her baby and the model of a building in the foreground. It depicts the dual-life that she lives: one as a mother and one as an architect. This photograph instills that we should not follow only one path in life. At the time that this photograph was taken, 1959, a woman would have been forced to stay at home with her children. However, the woman in this photograph dared to be different. She pursued the career of an architect, and she was successful, despite also having to support a family. Even though she could have followed the path that society wanted her to, this woman kept her imagination alive and did what she really wanted to do.

Me with Eija-Lilsa Ahtila's "Scenographer's Mind VIII." Photo by Reanne Mathai

I appreciate this work for its representation of the good life theme because it encourages me to pursue both a family and a career. All too often, nowadays, it seems as though women must choose between having a successful profession and raising children. This piece gives me hope that I too can manage both in my life as long as I believe in myself.


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