good life tour of the Harn Harn Museum of Art

(Pictured is the tour card provided at the front desk.)

Medium of the Art / Technique of the Artist

This artwork that I saw in the Harn is "II-06-94", made by Nancy Graves in 1994 using bronze with patina and glass. It is a very abstract piece that that seems to incorporate many aspects of culture including music, astronomy, architecture, nature, and art. There is a staff with musical notes, something that looks like a chain link fence with stars, a horseshoe crab, and some abstract shapes. Seeing it in person helped me better understand and better appreciate the work because I probably would not be able to visualize someone describing this piece to me as it is so metaphysical, since all these pieces are strung together into one piece. What is striking about the medium of the work and the technique she used was that it is such an intricate sculpture. It is not something 2D like a painting and it is not something simply 3D like a statue; it is also 4D because it intertwines within itself and all the separate parts interact with each other. I appreciate the way it is not a fully solid piece but it stands together. It definitely communicated what the artist was trying to portray, as I read in the mini biography that was underneath the piece. I was able to come to this analysis before reading it and saw that she used this installation to show her interests. I enjoyed looking at the artwork because I am interested in the same things like music, as I play the trombone, and nature, as I want to become a veterinarian.

Design of the Museum

Here, I am standing in front of "Transparencies with Blue Movement", a painting painted by Raymond Johnson in 1937 on oil on canvas, in the Modern Collection exhibition of the museum. This exhibit was particularly appealing to me because, instead of it being a completely open room, it was a more interactive wing, causing me to have to move around walls and snake my way through to access other pieces of art. This particular work, for example, was behind one of the walls in the middle of the room, so I had to go around the wall to see it. I found it more interactive and fun than just going to a large room filled with paintings hung on the wall here and there. Also I personally do not like how modern museums are made today, with all white walls and white floors, with luminescent light bulbs making everything look so white like snow. I like the green and red tones found in the exhibit with almost a more "homey" feeling. This particular art piece was very appealing to me because it was a little different than the other paintings in the room that showed people or actual objects, but it still somehow fit to me. I also enjoyed what the artist believed; that "art's true function is to provide an arena for spiritual exploration rather than an illusionistic rendering of the physical world."

Art and Core Values

This artwork is called "When racism and sexism are no longer fashionable, how much will you art collection be worth?" and is actually just a print from 1989 by the Guerrilla Girls. It appeals to one of my core values because I am very against racism and sexism. This art throws it in the viewers face that one painting that costs 17.7 million dollars painted by a white man is the same as buying around 67 pieces of art by women including artists of color. The visual representation of the artist allows me to explore and better appreciate the core value because it is a written work that blatantly names 67 different people who should be recognized and antagonizes or criticizes the way that people are willing to pay great amounts money for a piece of art just because it comes with the preconception that it is above other pieces of art because the artist was a white male. This piece brings up the point that in the future, when the public's idea has changed on equality and social stigmas, people are not going to be willing to pay a lot of money on collections that are primarily white-male based. Now, I do not believe that everyone who buys a piece of expensive art does this on purpose, but I do think it is something that happens maybe even subconsciously. The artwork instills an emotion of sadness because this idea that white men are better than everyone else is still prevalent today just as it was in 1989 and before. It helps me better understand what I believe because I am not alone; I am not outspoken about my beliefs on this matter in particular but there are people who are working towards this equality still today.

Art and the Good Life

"Geographies" by Celeste Roberge conveys a Good Life theme of time through birth and life. This work evokes that theme because the eggs represent the beginning of life, while use of metal and stone materials on the egg-shaped objects are, as mentioned in the mini biography that accompanies the artwork, are references to the elements' timelessness. It communicates the Good Life theme of life because these three eggs are the first stage in the life of what will eventually hatch from these eggs and life is all stages. Eventually the creature will continue his life cycle and become a parent to his/her own egg. This cycle of life is a theme of the class and especially Siddhartha. Siddhartha starts out in his egg and decides to hatch from his egg to find his own good life and then, when he has his own egg, has to learn to set it free. It adds to my appreciation of that theme because the eggs are creatively made and still embody the theme of life and life cycles.

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