Harn Museum Good life Tour

John Chamberlain's sculpture

Medium/Technique of the Artist: Upon entering the Harn Museum, the first exhibit that caught my eye was the American Abstract exhibit. This was interesting to me because it was something I have not seen before. I saw an artwork that looked like garbage and wondered how that could be art. I read the information on the artwork to further understand the purpose of it. In the late 1950s, John Chamberlain began to shape vividly colored, abstracts sculptures from crushed cars. I had no idea that the techniques and medium behind this artwork was made out of cars. His work grew out of spontaneity, chance, and an interest in the discarded materials of American Culture. He soon turned to the rounded shapes and full volumes of work created from materials like galvanized steel, Industrial rubber, Plexiglas and polyurethane. The work from the early 1970s is part of a series of industrial-weight aluminum foil sculptures that were compressed into balls and then sprayed with auto lacquer and polyester resin. This is really intriguing to me because I usually relate art to paintings or photos. Seeing this abstract sculpture and reading about it helped me to better understand and appreciate the artwork. It communicated to me that everything could be art and it made me feel hopeful.

Highlights from the Modern Collection

Design of the Museum: The wing/exhibit that I really enjoyed was the Modern Collection. Personally, I love modern decor and designing. The lighting and exhibit seemed extremely elegant to me. It was spacious, white, and the artwork was enclosed in glass cases. I felt comfortable in the exhibit and really enjoy the white background because my favorite color is white. White, to me, illustrates elegance and beauty. In addition, the vast amount of different sculptures gave me a unique sense of clarity. Each and every piece of artwork is so distinct from one another, yet they somehow still manage to group them together as a whole. The various colors, shapes, sizes, and materials, made me realize that they are all individually unique but equal. This made me relate to the broader scope of the world, how each individual is unique and different in their own way but together we are all equal.

Photograph of New York City by Marvin Newman

Art and Core Values: This photo above, really spoke to me on an emotional level. This photograph is by Marvin Newman and is of the roadways leading to the Brooklyn Bridge with the World Trade Center Towers and Woolworth Building in the distance. You can notice in the traffic below that there are accidents. Being a New Yorker (born, raised, currently living), this photograph really had an impact of sadness on my emotions. First, the appearance of the World Trade Center really made me think about the dramatic tragedy of 9/11. In New York, 9/11 was a devastating event caused by two planes crashing into the Twin Towers and killing many people. Upon going to school in Florida, I did realize the difference from mourning 9/11 here to mourning 9/11 in New York. It was definitely more significant in New York. This day brings the whole state of NY together as a caring community to reflect upon the lives that were lost. I love the amazing community I had/have in New York. This artwork helps me appreciate the value of home. It helped me to understand that no matter where I live, where I go to school, New York will always be my home. It will always be a place of comfort and unity. I will always cherish everything about New York, the demography, history, and sense of home and comfort. I am a New Yorker and I am proud to call NY my home.

Mujeres Descansando (Women Resting) by Francisco Zuniga

Art and the Good Life: The artwork that I thought conveys a Good Life theme is the Mujeres Descansado (Women resting) by Francisco Zuniga. The theme is the human body. Zuniga is best known for his figurative paintings and sculptures depicting the common people of Mexico. These are boldly simplified forms that possess a monumental approach to the human body. His images of sad women with the prominent indigenous features refer to Pre-columbian concepts of an earth mother and relate his work to the indigenismo movement which sought a dominant social and political role for native peoples in countries where they constitute a majority of the population. The human body does impact the search for the good life. These women are considered women from their sexual reproduction organs. In addition, their indigenous features/clothings, refer to the domesticity of women in the household. Therefore, because of their human body, they are already responsible for some social and political duties. It is hard to seek the good life, if your life is already planned with what you have to do, not what you want to do. In todays society, women are often perceived as the housewife, lowering their status of inferiority. I really seem to understand this artwork and the social implications/responsibilities that are already established based off our reproductive organs. In this case, our human body hinder's our quest for the good life. Society's expectations of women are not what women want to do, but have to do. This makes it harder for women to seek the good life and attain happiness.

Created By
Samantha Tetlak
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