Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art Taylor Hadden


As I arrived to the Harn Museum of Art on Sunday afternoon, I was exposed to the beautiful art exemplifying itself even just outside of the building. The sun was shining and the wind was breezing through the campus. I was very excited to visit the museum since several friends had encouraged me to experience these exhibits firsthand. Luckily, the Harn Museum of Art wasn't too busy and crowded so I could experience the museum without any obstructions or interferences. Therefore, I entered the first exhibit and became captivated and invested in the art located all about the Harn Museum.

The Samuel P. Hart Museum, The University of Florida. By: Meghan Lowry

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist

The moment I entered the first exhibit, American Abstraction, I was grew immediately fascinated and invested in the focal point of the exhibit: Zandvoort by Frank Stella. The manner in which the varying colors interacted with one another in a swirling, abstract fashion was incredibly intriguing and astonishing. I continued to analyze this conceptual piece for several minutes, interpreting its potential meaning by breaking down the shades of color and examining their relationship with one another. I feel as if I could've look at Zandvoort for hours and still come up with newfound meanings and explanations. Therefore, I feel that visualizing this piece firsthand allowed me to better appreciate the artistic expression and minute details that photographs simply can't capture. Also, having a nifty placard explain the artist's intentions behind the piece helped wonders. Although Frank Stella created the piece to allude to a racetrack with sharp turns and other serpentine elements, I believe that Zandvoort can be interpreted in a myriad of different ways. If I hadn't been there is visualize Zandvoort in the flesh, I wouldn't have had that freedom to interpret and explore whilst also having the answers.

What made this piece so striking was the vibrant utilization of colors and the manner in which Frank Stella combined the hues to establish a sense of organized havoc. Due to these two qualities, I was immediately drawn in to Zandvoort. His technique of utilizing circuits and bright hues suggests a sense of rushing adrenaline and energy just ready to unleash itself. This communicated to me that Zandvoort's conceptual style conveyed the harnessing of potential energy and adrenaline. Also, the manner in which the colors interplayed on the sculpture could be a physicalization of different emotions interacting with one another. The art work made me feel anxious and excitable. I craved more and with that craving came more excitable energy. I really enjoyed the adventure Zandvoort took me on.

The Samuel P. Harm Museum, The University of Florida. By: Meghan Lowry

Design of the Museum

The exhibit I found most appealing in terms of design and layout was the African Collection. The exhibit was an homage to traditional African culture and customs. The artwork was incredibly varied and on different mediums which made the African Collection incredibly diversified and alluring. One of the elements included a video by Jean Borgatti portraying an Okakagbe masquerade performance in Nigeria. Another included hand-crafted masks of deities that are used in traditional masquerade ceremonies and seasonal festivals. My favorite part of the exhibit included an authentic Ancestor Spirit Masquerade Costume which is traditionally worn by Egunguns who appear in annual ritual performances.

The Samuel P. Harm Museum, The University of Florida. By: Taylor Hadden

Why I found this exhibit to be most appealing was simply how it incorporated an array of different art pieces that together helped to accurately depict African culture. Not only did it include physical art pieces, but it included pictures, costumes and videos. I believe that if an exhibit includes too much of one thing, it can unengage its patrons. Using variety and diversity in presentation will definitely intrigue your visitors and leave a lasting impression. Not only that, but the African Collection utilized its space and arranged the art pieces incredibly well. Its format left every turn a mystery for its patrons - you never knew what to expect. Due to these advantages, I spent the longest in the African Collection than any other exhibit in the Harn Museum. The exhibit caused me to feel very engaged and involved with the African culture. I felt as if I had been physically transported their to experience their customs and culture without having left campus. Due to this out of body experience, I very much enjoyed interacting with the African Collection exhibit.

The Samuel P. Harm Museum, The University of Florida. By: Meghan Lowry

Art and Core Values

As I traveled from exhibit to exhibit in the Harn Museum, I wondered when I would find a piece that personally evoked my emotions. Finally after looking through the Portraits of Frida Kahlo exhibit, I found a piece of Frida with her extended family that stuck a chord with me. In this portrait, we see Kahlo posed with her Mexican family in a very untraditional manner. Due to my background knowledge from looking at previous portraits in the exhibit, I knew that Frida had complicated relationships with her family members - especially her father and three siblings. Since she was fairly eccentric and often deviated from the norm, Kahlo was met with misunderstanding and confrontation. Despite this, her family had come together to take this portrait which shows how their differences were set aside for the better good.

The Samuel P. Harm Museum, The University of Florida. By: Taylor Hadden

A big core value in my life is family. My family is incredibly important to me, and despite our differences, we're always there for one another. Therefore the visual representation Kahlo creates in her portrait, especially knowing minor bits of her inner family relations, speaks to me on a personal level. I too have misunderstandings with my family, and there have been frequent bumps in the road throughout the years. Despite this turmoil, when it comes down to it, we are a tight family unit who'll show support for every member in the direst of moments. The art work instills feelings of grit and strength due to how it correlates with my own family. Therefore, seeing Frida Kahlo's portrait of her family further cemented my core value of family. Seeing that you can work through your family's opposing views and conflicts while still being a supportive backbone for one another demonstratesthat family is family by the end of the day.

Art and the Good Life

While ambulating through the Harn Museum, I was awaiting to see a piece that would represent an individual's good life in my own rite. Eventually, once in the Spotlight on Latin America exhibit, I came across a sculpture entitled Family by Agustin Cardenas. This sculpture beautifully illustrated the importance of sharing the good life. Family is an abstract sculpture portraying two parental figures joined together with a child seated on their laps. Personally, I believe that having support from family and friends is incredibly important in achieving a happy, fulfilled life. This piece is all about acting as a backbone for loved ones, protecting them from outside evils and showing compassion no matter the predicament. I know that in order to live out my good life, I need to share my experiences with those I love right by my side. I believe that Agustin Cardenas would hold the same values.

The Samuel P. Hart Museum, The University of Florida. By: Meghan Lowry

This pieces evokes the theme of sharing the good life because it shows how the parental figures are tenderly surrounding their child with warm adoration and care. It not only communicates this theme materially through the physical structure of the abstract piece, but emotionally as well by evoking intense feelings within onlooking patrons. For me, I felt incredibly nostalgic looking at this piece, remembering when I was a little one looking up to my parents. I was able to see myself inĀ Family. Therefore, by communicating the theme in this manner, I gained a larger insight and greater appreciation for the theme of sharing the good life. Now, this theme is more pertinent to me than ever.

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