The Harn Spark Story by lauren kirkley

Medium of the Art

Most bowls, especially those in art museums, are glazed on both the outside and the inside. But this one was unglazed on the outside and stunningly glazed on the inside. A picture cannot fully capture the texture of the outside of the bowl; it evokes nature as it twists around like a tree trunk. Its unglazed and rough texture helps to show this as well. The inside is coated with an iridescent silver glaze that reflects the light in a beautiful way. It surprised me when I went from just seeing the outside to seeing the inside. Its duality made me reflect on the duality of nature and man-made materials, and how the two can combine to create something beautiful.

Kayoko, Hoshino. Unglazed Bowl with Silver Glaze. 2009, stoneware, The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville.

Design of the Museum

The Asian Water Garden made me feel especially at peace, so much so that I wish I could sit down on the bridge and do my homework there. It is designed beautifully, with a bridge taking you over the creek and through the garden. The waterfall is also beautiful and provides ambient noise that is very calming to me. Being surrounded by greenery, water, and nature in general put me in my "happy place," which is what I imagine the designers intended.

Art and Core Values

Frida Kahlo is definitely one of my role models and idols. She was a disabled, bisexual, rebellious activist, and an incredible artist. Her story of being injured in a car accident when she was 18 helped me work through my mental and physical trauma after being in several car accidents in the past year. The core value this piece reminded me of is radical acceptance. Kahlo was a feminist and did not shave her body hair, which is still a contentious issue. Seeing this photograph of her reminded me of her tangibility and the conflict she must have faced going through her world with the identities she held. It made me feel more inspired by her to remember that our society's beauty standards are often arbitrary and unreasonable, and never to judge a person by their outward appearance.

Cunningham, Imogen. Frida Kahlo, Painter and Wife of Diego Rivera. 1931, photograph, The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville.

Art and the Good Life

This piece, by the art vigilante feminist group the Guerrilla Girls, poses an important question to the art world. It raises an issue of injustice in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York- that 76% of the nude paintings are female, but only 4% of the artists are female. Their work is intended to raise anger within the general population and create change within the art world- both with museums and with encouraging female artists. Personally, it inspired me to create more art, even if it will never go in the Met. I think it is important to spread this message to inspire more women to do the same so eventually the numbers will be more balanced.

Guerrilla Girls. Do Women Have to be Naked to Get Into the Met Museum? Update. 2012, print, The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville.

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