My friend Glenda and I decided to visit the Harn Museum of Art on January 31st, 2017. Although I have been to several museums throughout the years, the experience I received at the Harn is unparalleled by that of any other. Having to take pictures of myself with the artwork and reflect on which pieces truly spoke to me, allowed me to identify with the art in a transcendent way. In some cases I even found myself intrigued by the lives of particular artists, something I had never gotten the chance to do before. My visit to the Harn has definitely added layers to the way I take in and interpret art, it has instilled in me the idea of finding a little bit of myself in every painting. After today, I feel that I have a newfound appreciation and personal connection to the art I encountered and will encounter in the future...overall an enriching experience.
Medium of the Art
There is definitely a distinction between seeing a work of art in person versus seeing a replica or a virtual depiction. This Wedding Ensemble's intricate craftsmanship and vibrant colors can only be adequately appreciated in person. I was able to get close enough to see the carefully stitched design using different colored threads, and the beautifully fabricated ornamental buttons and shells that brought this ensemble to life. Everything from the way the shells reflected the light in the room to becoming lost in the mosaic pattern of the garment, made me feel as though I had traveled back in time to ancient Egypt. Every aspect of this work of art allowed me to envision my version of what an Egyptian wedding must have looked like in the 20th century. I imagined people dancing to vibrant music, the beautiful tan women with charcoal lined eyes, all taking place in a grand city yet somehow managing to stay in touch with nature. At the end of the day what I imagined may be wrong, but the magic lies in the fact that this work of art was able to transport me to a different culture in a distant time period. Had I not seen this work of art in person, I doubt it would have had the same effect on me. The purpose of art is to connect us to the person who created it and the civilization to which it was born, and only in person can this unparalleled phenomenon occur.
Design of the Museum
Overall I loved the openness of the museum. Not only does it have an open floor plan, but it also incorporates nature whenever possible. This combination allows for light to flood in and fill every crevice of the museum, bounce off of every wall, and brighten every work of art. If I had to choose a space that I was particularly impressed with, it would have to be the outdoor garden in the Asian Collection exhibit. Not only is it a place to escape and be one with nature, but it also enhanced the exhibit. The sun came in through the window behind the Asian Collection exhibit giving everything in the room a golden hue, it was spectacular and without a doubt wouldn't be the same without this feature. In general, the way the curators and architects decided to give so much emphasis to nature gives the Harn a unique quality. Because even if every work of art does not explicitly depict nature, anything and everything man kind creates comes from nature in one way or another. That is why I am so fond of the profuse green spaces and enormous windows that inhabit the Harn, the museum itself is truly a work of art!
Art and Core Values
Above all other exhibits and all other paintings, Frida Kahlo has my heart. I identify with this painting on so many levels. Being Mexican myself, I have a strong cultural identification with Frida and what she stood for as a Mexican woman. The painting also evokes a strong sense of pride in my country. I love knowing that of all the artists they could have chosen, they chose not only a woman but a Mexican woman. It is an indescribable feeling knowing that Frida painted in the city I grew up in, she portrayed the vibrant colors of my childhood, the folkloric music of my people, and the history of my ancestors. And not only did she paint it, I get to enjoy her work in a country that is not my own. I have the satisfaction of knowing other people can get a taste of my traditions, customs, and values; the satisfaction of knowing Mexico will be remembered and perhaps even loved by more than just the Mexican people. In addition, this painting definitely relates to one of my favorite core values... self-expression. At the time Mexico City was an island of expression in a sea of moral judgement and oppression. The artists of the time period rebelled against tradition to make Mexico city a mecca for artists, a place where they were free to paint about controversial and sensitive issues and really help make a difference by bringing awareness to the rest of the country. It is this brave step that helped spark the initiative to speak up, and fight for what they believed in. This is not only a core value that I practice and cherish, but it is a core value that I am proud to know my country fomented.