The Harn Museum of Art Foster Tempson

The Harn: An Introduction

The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art is located on the campus of the University of Florida. With thousands of works of art from numerous time periods, the Harn has something for everyone. During my visit to the museum, I was able to view artwork of many different styles and mediums. Such works of art included sculptures, clothing/woven art, billboards, postcards, literature, and painting on a variety of materials. Each medium demanded its own interpretation, contributing to the uniqueness of the work. As I walked through the various rooms of the museum, I was guided through what seemed to be a miniature exhibition through culture and time. Just as each artist is different, the works that they create vary immensely from those of others. Because of the great diversity of artwork, each piece is able to trigger the thought of its own unique set of values. When I looked at the works of art, no two pieces ever gave me exactly the same feeling. Art carries with it the power to evoke feelings within us that we didn't even realize we had.

Medium & Technique: Invoking Appreciation

The Harn museum of art is unique in that it houses artwork representing many different mediums and techniques. From elegantly sculpted statues, to bold and abstract cubism-inspired paintings, this museum is a physical representation of just what the artistic world has to offer. Two works of art (pictured above) illustrated an example of how medium and technique aids in the full appreciation of a work. Just by viewing a picture, or even a video of these traditional African garments, you are not able to fully grasp their beauty. However, when seen in person, I was able to fully admire the vibrant colors and deep textures that these works of art consisted of. When I walked into the very open space in which these garments were housed, I felt immediately drawn to them. As I got closer and closer, it was like a new layer of artistic beauty being added. By seeing this work in person, I was able to actually understand what it FEELS like, instead of just knowing what the works look like. Even the above pictures do not do these works justice.

Museum Design: An Unspoken Guide

One of the galleries within the Harn Museum of Art

The museum is uniquely designed to intrigue the viewer. Every corner houses new and interesting works, and allows for visitors to complete a full tour at their leisure without the need for an official tour guide. No two rooms were the same, and each room had its own feel. This means that every time I stepped into a new room it was like I was stepping into a whole new museum. I thoroughly enjoyed this layout because it keeps the viewer as engaged as possible. To me, the most interesting part of the museum was the main gallery, or the first large room that you step into when entering the art area. When I first walked into the gallery I immediately wondered why they had such a large room for a relatively small number of works. I soon realized that the space allowed for each work to be appreciated to the fullest extent. If the same works had been squeezed into a smaller area, I do not think that I would have taken as much care to analyze each work on as deep of a level as I did. I also feel that the larger space gives a more relaxed feel to the entire museum. Ample space encourages visitors to take as much time as they need to fully enjoy the artwork they are visiting.

Art and Core Values

The above photo that I took in the museum is of a work that caused me to unexpectedly reflect on my life and my personal experiences. The work is very abstract, and up for a large amount of interpretation by the viewer. This freedom of interpretation lead me to begin to wonder WHY it is I see what I see. What have I experienced and been exposed to in my life that leads me to draw images out of the artwork? I also find it extremely interesting how two people can look at the same work of art and get two entirely different takeaway messages from it. Personally, in the image above, I see a man with an angry expression on his face. The head is the red circle in the upper left quadrant of the canvas. I also see houses with triangular roofs, almost as if the man is walking down the street.

Art and the Good Life

The work pictured above outlines the good life theme that diversity and cross-cultural connections are the foundation of a well-rounded being. Just as Siddhartha traveled the region trying to find his good life, the museum takes visitors on a multicultural journey through many different styles of art. As I passed by this work, I was reminded that everybody has their own good life, and even though some ideas and values may be out of the ordinary for me, they are the norm for others. This work adds to my appreciation of diversity and cross-cultural connections by showing that no matter where you are, there is still more to be learned about the world. After all, life is a never-ending journey of learning and personal growth.

ALL TEXT AND IMAGES ARE THE ORIGINAL WORK OF FOSTER TEMPSON

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