Good Life Tour of the Harn by: Kenny Yin

Medium/Technique of the Art- The polychrome and gilded plaster, Islandia, Goddess of the Healing Waters was truly and incredible sight. It was created in 1988 by American artist Audrey Flack. I have heard about this beautiful sculpture before and have read about it, but seeing the 22 tall foot work of art in person was something else. Seeing it in person enabled me to clearly observe Flack's technique which incorporated bright colors and harmonious proportions. On top of that, the large scale of the sculpture really struck me. Audrey Flack was inspired to build this work with the intentions of restoring the balance of power between the male and female gender. The technique that really intrigued me was how Flack made this work of art have such prominent edges and curves. This inanimate sculpture seemed to have energy of it's own and really conveyed a sense of power. The way that Islandia is standing so erect communicates empowerment and involvement to me. It is as if she is entering this world setting out to do what she was brought into the world to do. Seeing the enormous sculpture in real life really helped me understand the work better and made me feel the powerful energy radiating from the Goddess.
Exhibition/Design- The architecture and design of the Harn plays a significant role in making strong impressions on visitors and critics. Personally, I was really impressed as soon as I walked into the lobby of the museum itself. The tall columns and high ceilings really gave me the impression that this facility that I was entering was something spectacular. Now, although the lobby is not a particular exhibition of the museum itself, I picked it specifically because of how it was set up. I was really impressed with how spacious the lobby was and how the light would pour in from the windows. On top of that, there is a mysterious sculpture planted right in the middle of the lobby which is something that I haven't really seen before. The way that the Harn Museum was arranged just made me admire it even more. As soon as I stepped into the lobby I was able to look through the glass doors into the actual exhibits of the museum and I was amazed. Not only that, but being able to see how dim lighted the rest of the museum was compared to the lobby provided a sense of the treasures of the Ancient, contemporary and modern art that awaited inside for me.
Cores and Values- This work "The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist", which is a public service from Guerrilla Gils, printed in 1988, really spoke out to me. This appealed to my core values and emotions because I feel like this poster really targeted gender discrimination, specifically in the art world. Female artists did play a significant role in the art world during the 1970s but started to diminish in the 1980s as the prices of art went up. Because of this, female artists were given less credit and diminished from museums and exhibits. This poster really spoke out to me through its thirteen points. The line that really stood out to me was "Having the opportunity to choose between career and motherhood". This line spoke out to me in particular because it made me think about my mother. My mother came from a rather oppressive country but when she moved over here she basically rose up from nothing. In order to progress her career by paying for education she spent many long nights working in restaurants. Eventually she was able to start working for small companies as a software engineer while raising my older brother and myself. This work really appealed to me because it just made me think about how oppressed women were and how they are sometimes even today.
Good Life- This piece, "Southern Teamster", was created by American artist Palmer Hayden in 1945. Palmer Hayden was an active figure in the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was an intellectual and literary movement during the 1920s and 1930s which boosted African American pride and served to promote new cultural identity. This particular painting was inspired by philosopher Alain Locke who wrote an essay that advocated for African American artists to convey and emphasize on African culture and folk life in order to inspire the movement. Because this painting symbolizes the african culture, folk life, and harlem renaissance movement, it represents the good life for many African Americans at this time. After all, the Harlem Renaissance was stirred by the creation of new art, literature and music. Paintings like these contribute to what is considered to be the "rebirth of African American arts". The uproar of new negro pride during this time helped challenge racial stereotypes and overall uplifted the attitudes of many oppressed African American during this time. I was able to get a better understanding of the good life theme through this painting because I learned that paintings like these helped African Americans attain enlightenment through ethnic pride and a new cultural identity.

Credits:

Created with images by jared422_80 - "Gainesville - Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art"

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