The Good Life Through Art Observing the Value of art at The Harn Art Museum


When visiting the Harn Art Museum I was able to develop a new understanding for art an its contribution to the good life. Through the observation of the mediums and techniques of the artists, the design of the museum, art and its core values, and art and the good life, I was able to gain a more holistic understanding of the impact of art on our daily lives.

Entrance to the Frida Kahlo Photography Exhibit

Medium of the Art & Techniques of the Artist

One particular piece of art that I found to be striking was The Jefferson Market Court House by Francis Criss. This piece first captured my attention due to the clean lines and bold color choices of the artist on the oil canvas. When experiencing this piece in person I was able to better appreciate the details of the piece and notice how the smallest lines and brush strokes contributed to the distinguished features of the painting including the artists use of shading and shadows to create contrast within the piece. I was also able to recognize the very basic composition of the buildings in the background, compared to the incredibly detailed rendering of the courthouse. This balance between simple and complex helps create a contrast allowing the subject (the courthouse) to better stand out in the minds of the viewer. The artists use of bold colors and shapes made me feel the a sense on energy within the painting. However, despite the many details of the buildings, this picture communicates an eerie feeling of emptiness in a place that is usually bustling with people.

Painting: Jefferson Market Courthouse by Francis Criss (1935)

Design of the Museum

One particular design aspect that I was drawn to within the Harn Museum was the gardens overlooking the pottery and Korean art exhibits. I found this particular section of the museum appealing because it was filled with cherry blossoms, a koi pond, and other oriental elements that enhanced the atmosphere and background of the Asian art and pottery exhibits. This section also enhanced the exhibit from within the building by allowing a significant amount of natural light to flow into the room, creating a calming, natural atmosphere and allowing the viewer to feel an overall sense of relaxation when examining the art pieces.

Small Garden overlooking the Pottery and Korean Art exhibit

Art and Its Core Values

One exhibit I found that appealed to my core value of gender equality was the Intra-action exhibit following women artists throughout history. I found the particular art piece by Audrey Flack the most moving because I believe it embodied this core value through the portrayal of the strong female water goddess, Islandia, who acts as a symbol of democracy and the egalitarian society. The primary emotion that this statue instilled within me was a sense of empowerment, strength, and femininity. This statue gave me a better understanding of my core values by helping me to realize that one can be seen as a strong and powerful woman while also possessing elements of femininity.

Intra-Action: Women Artists from the Harn Museum featuring works from the Guerrilla Girls, Marilyn Minter, Louise Bourgeois, Audrey Flack, and Rineke Dijkstra

Art and The Good Life

One exhibit I felt properly displayed a good life theme of celebrating was the Frida Kahlo photo exhibit. This exhibit took the time to appreciate the artist behind the great works and her contributions of shared experiences with others through her paintings. This theme of celebrating is communicated through the authenticity of these portraits as they demonstrate human emotion. These elements added to my understanding of the good life by providing me with a new lens in which to observe the world around me.

Frida Kahlo Photography Exhibition

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