The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art Hannah VanBuren

Medium of the Art

Childe Hassam was an American Impressionist painter in the late 19th and early 20th centuries whose artwork caught my eye as soon as I walked into the room. I have always liked the realistic and yet very impressionist paintings that seem to obscure reality. The paintings I chose, Springtime Vision, and Northeast Gorge at Appledore, were two that I truly had to see in person to appreciate. The visible brush strokes and the texture of the paint on the canvas truly enhanced my experience at the museum. Overall, his work seemed to calm me as I looked at it, because most of his paintings are of very serene landscapes. The museum in its entirety had that effect on me, and I found it hard to leave a place that made me feel so at peace.

Design of the Museum

The David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing struck me as absolutely beautiful when I first walked into the exhibit. Every other exhibit in the museum had very light walls with artwork sparingly hung around. The Asian Art Wing, on the other hand, was incredibly dramatic, with dark wooden structures and colorful garden pond. I loved the way that the artwork was displayed as well because, much like a frame around a painting, a display is meant to be beautiful while also enhancing the work. This was most definitely achieved, as the display accented the pieces of pottery beautifully while also being a work of art all on its own. It made it seem, more than any of the other exhibits, that the artwork was meant to be there and meant to be seen.

Art and Core Values

It was very difficult not to feel empowered by the entire "Guerrilla Girls" exhibit. One of my main core values is representation for not only women, but people of color, those in the queer community, or a mixture of all of the above. Learning that men make up the majority of art collected and displayed wasn't necessarily surprising, but it ignited a spark within me that found it absolutely ridiculous that this was the case. The entire exhibit reminded me that being active and fighting for what you believe in is so important in this day and age, where issues are seeming to be resolved, but the fight isn't over yet.

Art and the Good life

In my opinion, Frida Kahlo embodied the good life in the way that she carried out her life and created her art. She was so unabashedly herself and she wasn't afraid to show the world that. To me, that is a crucial "good life" value: not being afraid to be yourself, regardless of what others think. She also embodies the value of persevering through hardships and coming out stronger on the other side. Everyone is going to have difficulties in their life, but it is all about how one overcomes those challenges and allows them to shape the person they become. Kahlo found herself in an almost fatal accident, but instead of quitting her passion, she allowed it to fuel her work, and became one of, if not the, most famous female artists of all time.

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Hannah VanBuren
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