Tour of the harn Precious Patton; image: swimming gator, Hiram williams

Semiotics of the Kitchen, Martha Rosler

Medium of the art: Unlike most of the art featured in the Harn Museum, Semiotics of the Kitchen is in video format. It's in black and white, approximately 6 minutes long and features a women listing, and then giving short demonstrations of kitchen utensils in alphabetical order. It plays on a large screen with walls and a ceiling around it to block out light and sound. This is what first attracted me to the piece. The bright screen contrasts the dark walls and the noise immediately caught my attention as I walked by it. Seeing it in person leaves a much stronger impression compared to seeing a video of the video. Sitting in the dark room drew my full attention to the screen and that helped me take in more of the piece and better understand it. I really like that Rosler decided to use a video instead of pictures to portray her discontent with the subjugation of women in society. Videos show the progression of emotion and being exposed to second after second of these emotions increases how intensely they are felt. The art had a comical aspect because of the exaggerated motions of the woman during her demonstrations which I found entertaining. However, Rosler combines this lighter element with more meaningful ones to share her message. The robotic nature of the woman's motions comments on how women have been objectified and are expected to fill a set of predetermined roles rather than be themselves. I enjoyed the video because it was able to make me laugh while still portraying an important message.

Ancient Korean scroll and a Korean Buddhist statue

Design of the museum: My favorite exhibit was centered around Korean art. I liked the variety of mediums it had and how the art was placed in the exhibit. There were paintings, scrolls, sculptures, pictures, and more that I can't recall. The diversity made the room pop because it had more texture than if the art had all been of the same medium. I enjoyed that the mediums were dispersed enough that there were no clear groups, but close enough to draw similarities from the art. The exhibit also felt very open. The room was well-lit with both artificial and natural lighting. The light color of the floorboards and walls paired with the high ceiling made the room feel spacious. It was a very pleasant exhibit to be in because of the open and inviting feeling. I also really enjoyed the history of the pieces and their connection to such a beautiful culture.

Photos of women and girls in Nigeria

Art and core values: The last collection I saw was a series of photographs of women and children in Nigeria. The one that stood out to me the most was the picture above of the young girl in blue. The photo is captioned "beautiful is a happy child". Looking at it made me smile; the girl's happiness is contagious and shines through the photo. One of my strongest beliefs is that people deserve to be and love themselves, so seeing people smiling and expressing positive emotions gives me a sense of happiness and peace. That's what I see in this young girl's loving and pure smile. It also highlights the universality of happiness. The reasons she smiles are unique to her but the expression of happiness is the same across the world. The piece inspires a sense of humanity and a feeling of connectedness through happiness.

We sell white bread, and Hormone Imbalance, Melanin Deficiency. Pieces by the Guerrilla Girls

Art and the good life: One of my favorite good life themes is the appreciation of art because it is a form of human expression. I think the work done by the Guerrilla Girls captures this theme well. They use their art as a platform for exposing gender and racial preferences in art and contemporary society. Their art is straightforward and conveys their anger towards the inequality in the world. The discrimination against women and minorities they see inspires them to create pieces that challenge the conventional, but unequal norms of the art world. This adds to my appreciation of art as a form of expression because it highlights the diversity of thoughts. Creating art is usually thought of as a leisure activity and the product is expected to be pretty. However, the Guerrilla Girls show a different aspect of art and make the messages of their pieces very clear to the audience. It shows the diversity among art, and therefore among people and the thoughts they have and what they deem important which is one of the most beautiful aspects of humanity.

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