Good Life Tour of the Harn Anqi Zhou, Feb 18th 2017

Hu, Zheqi. Anqi Zhou leaning against a display case at the Harn Museum. Digital Image, 20 Jan. 2017. (Photo by Zheqi Hu, consent to use given)


Zhou, Anqi. Assortment of glass vases at the Harn Museum. Digital Image, 20 Jan. 2017.

Art encompasses many things in life: from traditional paintings to photographs, landscapes, architecture, theatre to even computer games and the human body. It is inspirational because it evokes feelings (whether positive or negative) in the beholder; thus, art makes up a crucial part of the Good Life. An art Museum is place where certain types of art are congregated, allowing the museum goer a unique experience where they can appreciate art with ease and better connect with the artists. I am grateful for the my experience at the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida because it broadened my world view of art and contributed positively to my college experience and my Good Life.

Medium of Art/Technique of the Artist

Zhou, Anqi. Seated Buddha in glass display at the Harn Museum. Digital Image, 20 Jan. 2017.

This sculpture is titled Seated Buddha. It originated from the Grandhara region of contemporary northwest Pakistan and southern Afghanistan and was created around the 4th to 5th century CE. I was able to have a 360 degrees view of the sculpture (since it was in a glass display) and was astonished by the amazing talents of ancient crafters in making the intricate details of the buddha's hair and robes. The sculpture is primarily made of stucco, which is a plaster used in the coating of walls and buildings, thus is was amazing how the artist wielded this bland and unrefined material and transformed it into a beautiful representation of a divine being. The buddha is a symbol originating in South Asian from Hindu and Buddhist traditions, yet in this sculpture we see Buddha wearing Greco-Roman style roles. Beyond being a religious symbol, this sculpture communicates a dynamic time and place in history where we see one of the first instances of intra-religonal interaction and the sharing and intermingling of different arts and cultures. This artwork made me feel excited and proud to be a part of the current globalized society where extensive objects and ideas are shared across cultures.

Design of the Museum

Zhou, Anqi. Sculpture in front of the David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing at the Harn Museum. Digital Image, 20 Jan. 2017.

At the time of my visit, many of the Harn Museum's exhibits were roughly separated based on region of the world (I.e. the African section, Latin American section & Asian sections). This enhanced my experience because each wing/space had different lighting and designs that amplified the cultural history of it's artworks. My favorite wing of the museum was the David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing, it spans across four galleries and holds collections and works from south, east and southeast Asia. As a person of Asian background and decent, I really appreciate the look and feel of this wing. From the redwood walls and floors to excellent filtering of open lighting to the miniature Japanese garden outside the window, this wing incorporates countless uniquely Asian design elements that makes the visitor feel as if they have been transported to a antique Chinese temple or Japanese tea house. In addition, many of the works are placed on the ground in open space, thus the design of the museum becomes an artistic creation in itself in which visitors are able to walk through.

Art and Core Values

Zhou, Anqi. Prism by Marilyn Minter at the Harn Museum. Digital Image, 20 Jan. 2017.

This photograph is a chromogenic color print by US artist Marilyn Minter. It is one out of a collection of photographs in which Minter discovers the "pathology of glamour" and society's expectations of women's behavior and fashion. With an emphasis on a woman's lips as she is plastered in glitter and bites a chain of diamonds and jewels, this print stood out to me because I always envied the women on Instagram who lived lavish and luxurious lifestyles. The woman's lips are sensual in this photograph and inspires feelings of awe and raw desire. It is as if the woman is trying to say that glamour, jewels and riches are the only thing she desires in life because she holds these things closest to her lips. I always cherished the values of accomplishment and prestige in my life and hope to one day achieve these ideals and the opulent lifestyle that they subsequently bring. However, this photograph helped me understand that things and people that are bejeweled and glamorous also have a facet of foolishness and excessiveness. The glitter and makeup weighs heavy on the woman's face and she is burdened and unable to speak because of the chain of diamonds between her lips. This photograph illutrates that often times a glamorous life full of riches may come with it's own dangers and thus may not be the most fulfilling or desirable.

Art and the Good Life

Zhou, Anqi. Manhattan by George Grosz at the Harn Museum. Digital Image, 20 Jan. 2017.

An important aspect of the Good Life to me is being able to live in a large city, have a career in the financial industries and live a fast-paced and comfortable lifestyle. That's why this oil on board painting of the New York City skyline initially spoke to me - it is my dream to move to New York after college. However, upon reading the description to the side of the painting, I realized that there is even more meaning behind this slightly cliché depiction. The artist behind this work is an German immigrant to the United States and he painted this painting a year after the end of the most deadly war in human history: WWII. The artist portrays the magnificent New York Skyline because it is a symbol of strength, hope and a new beginning, embodying the theme of seeking the good life. Just like artist, I sought a better life for myself by moving to and attending school in the United States. In the process I was forced leave behind parts of my past but I have greater aspirations that I am eagerly striving for here. This powerful painting conveys the importance of following one's dreams and actively seeking a better future, supporting me in the goals of my good life.

Zhou, Anqi. Inspirational poster at the Harn Museum. Digital Image, 20 Jan. 2017.

Hu, Zheqi. Anqi Zhou in front of the Harm Museum of Art. Digital Image, 20 Jan. 2017. (Photo by Zheqi Hu, consent to use given)

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